ACAP celebrates pre-K students’ accomplishments during special day
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Pre-Kindergarten students from Aroostook County Action Program’s Gouldville Early Care and Education Center recently celebrated their academic accomplishments alongside their families and teachers during a special, fun-filled day.
On Friday, June 14, 33 students in ACAP’s Head Start and pre-K classrooms marked their upcoming transition to public kindergarten with certificate ceremonies and outdoor activities on Gouldville’s playground.
The students make up three classrooms, including one located at Presque Isle High School’s Regional Career and Technical Center.
For Ruth Hanson the day was a chance to reflect on how successful her 5-year-old daughter Eleanor has been since enrolling in Head Start two years ago.
“The teachers here are very hands-on and they really meet the kids where they’re at,” Hanson said. “Eleanor hasn’t just learned the basics of letters and numbers, but also how to navigate a classroom setting with her peers and gain social skills.”
ACAP has operated their Early Care and Education Center, which includes both Early Head Start and Head Start classrooms, since 1997. While Early Head Start helps children from birth to age 3, the Head Start pre-K classrooms focus on giving 3- and 4-years-olds early education needed to transition into public school systems.
Families whose children attend Gouldville also have access to other ACAP programs such as workforce development, community health and energy and housing.
Sue Powers, director of ACAP Early Care and Education, said that staff members regularly meet with parents and guardians and hold special activities throughout the year such as school photo day.
This is the first year of ACAP’s and SAD 1’s partnership and the first time that ACAP has held an end-of-the-year celebration for pre-K students. Staff members hope to make the activities an annual event.
“Moving from pre-K to kindergarten is an important milestone for children, as they move into a different routine. We wanted families to have the opportunity to celebrate with us,” Powers said.
Kristen Nicholas’ daughter Estelle, 5, has attended ACAP Head Start since she was 3 years old. Though Estelle initially struggled with adjusting to the routines and structures of a classroom, today Nicholas is much more confident about her daughter’s new adventures in kindergarten.
“Estelle has worked really hard these past two and a half years and has grown so much. The teachers, speech and occupational therapists here have been with her every day,” Nicholas said. “She has blossomed so much here.”