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Pre School and Kindergarten Screening

Applications for preschool are available through the Early Education Office, located at the Superintendent’s Office, 97 F. Sumner Turner Road, Northfield at the rear of the Pioneer Regional High School. Please call 413-498-2660 in order to receive an application packet. Preschool applications are available beginning in February for the following school year.

The PVRSD Preschool programs are supported through a combination of local school budgets, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care Grants, parent tuition, and local funds. We attempt to keep tuition as low as possible and do offer a sliding fee scale rate using the Massachusetts Sliding Fee Scale for Child Care, which allows us to charge tuition based on family income.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who do I contact if I have more questions about screening?

What is Preschool and Kindergarten screening?

Preschool and Kindergarten screening is a brief assessment of a child’s development, usually lasting twenty minutes or less. The screening protocol used by The Pioneer Valley Regional School District is the Early Screening Inventory and is comprised of five parts that provide information about the following:

Drawing and Copying
Hand preference
Approach to task
Comfort level
Fine motor/grip
Visual -Remembering what is seen
Auditory - Remembering what is heard

Building With Blocks
Fine motor/dexterity
Hand-eye coordination

Using Language
To describe
To reason
Coordinating Body Movements
A developmental history and vision and hearing assessment are also part of the screening.

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Why is screening conducted?
The purpose of screening is to identify children who may have significant learning problems. It has been reported that five to seven percent of all children entering school are considered to be in the "High Risk" category. "High Risk" is a term used to describe children who may have learning problems that will impede their growth and development in school and perhaps cause failure in the future. For some children screening serves as the first step leading to an evaluation and possibly special education support services.

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Is the screening a readiness test?
It's also important here to consider what screening is not! The screening assessment we have chosen is not a readiness test. Readiness tests tend to focus on skills acquisition, such as naming letters, recognizing numerals, name writing and knowing body parts. We do not believe that children should have mastered a particular set of skills to be considered "ready" to attend school. Rather, we believe that each child brings a unique set of prior learning to school, and that our responsibility is to plan a program that meets the varying needs of each child.

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Is the screening an intelligence test?
Another prevalent misconception about screening is that it is a type of intelligence test (also known as an IQ test). The assessment tool that we use is not designed to measure children's overall level of intelligence, nor does it identify their potential for learning. It is a developmental profile which provides information about children's general language development, their small and gross motor development, and their ability to adapt what they already know to new situations.

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Who will conduct the screening?
The screening team consists of several members of the early education staff and usually includes:

The Early Education Coordinator
Speech and language pathologists
Kindergarten teachers
School nurse

The team members administer different sections of the screening and have had training in administering and scoring the assessments.

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How will I know how my child did?
1. Parents of children who score in the expected range will receive an "Okay" letter indicating that their child appears to be developing as expected.
2. Parents of children who score below the expected range will also receive a letter indicating screening results as well as a phone call to discuss the results. These children will be re-screened in the fall.

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Does an "okay" letter mean that my child will be successful in school?
Many factors contribute to success in school. Among the most important is social and emotional maturity. Unfortunately, these areas of development cannot be assessed during screening. If you have questions about your child's maturity, we recommend that you discuss your concerns with the Early Education Coordinator or a member of the screening team.

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Do parents receive a copy of the screening?
A copy of the screening results is placed in the child's folder at school. Parents are welcome to review the results, but the actual protocol is not given to parents. The screening assessment is only valid if children have not seen or practiced the tasks. Finally, if a family moves to a new community, the screening results may be sent to the new school.

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Who do I contact if I have more questions about screening?
Please contact Ellen Edson, Early Education Coordinator, with any questions. She can be reached at (413) 498-2660.

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