The Cherokee County School District (CCSD) offers three preschool programs to serve our community’s littlest learners.
The CCSD Preschool Program includes three tuition-free, accredited programs: Georgia Lottery Pre-K, Head Start and Special Education Preschool.
All CCSD preschool students enjoy a day of learning and fun in a class led by a certified teacher with a paraprofessional assistant. They prepare for kindergarten with lessons on shapes, colors, letters and numbers; art, music and science hands-on activities; and learn to use a computer and tablet. Learning through play is an important part of every day with indoor centers and outdoor playground time, as is developing routines and understanding how to make friends and cooperate with others. The programs are overseen by Principal Debbie Ritter and Assistant Principal Angela Moody.
Special Education Preschool begins on a child’s third birthday, which allows for a seamless transition from the state’s Babies Can’t Wait program. In addition to regular preschool curriculum, students receive individualized services to meet their needs, such as speech, occupational and physical therapy, and have the option of riding a special education school bus. This program is at Ralph Bunche Center in Canton, Holly Springs Preschool Center at Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy, Johnston Preschool Center at Johnston Elementary School in Woodstock, and Oak Grove Preschool at Oak Grove Elementary Fine Arts Academy in southwest Cherokee. More details about the program and the special education assessment process, which can evaluate your child if you’re concerned about developmental milestones, are online at https://bit.ly/CCSDspecialpre.
Head Start offers families who meet income eligibility requirements the opportunity to begin their child’s education early, with classes for 3- and 4-year-olds that follow the same hours as elementary school. Parents drop off and pick up on a car-rider schedule, and students receive free breakfast and lunch. This program is at Johnston Preschool Center and Ralph Bunche Center. Enrollment opens in late winter/early spring with details posted at www.cherokeek12.net.
The Georgia Lottery Pre-K program is offered at Ball Ground Elementary STEM Academy, Hasty Elementary Fine Arts Academy, Oak Grove Elementary Fine Arts Academy, R.M. Moore Elementary STEM Academy, Johnston Elementary Preschool Center and Ralph Bunche Center. The program serves children who will be 4 on or before Sept. 1 of the school year for which they are enrolling. Since capacity is limited by state funding, CCSD uses a lottery drawing to determine enrollment. Applications are accepted from February to early March, with the lottery drawing in mid-March. Priority is given to students who live in the elementary school’s attendance area. Enrollment details are announced on www.cherokeek12.net.
More information, including center addresses and phone numbers, is at https://bit.ly/CCSDpreschool.
By Barbara P. Jacoby, contributing writer and chief communications officer for the Cherokee County School District.