Suzie Wuitschick taught first and second grades at Pleasant Valley Primary for more than 25 years before retiring in 2015. Her experience as a teacher taught her countless things about early childhood development, with one of the most enduring lessons being the important role that parents play in helping their children to be adequately prepared for the classroom learning environment. That’s why last year, Wuitschick and her grandson Chase regularly attended Battle Ground Public Schools’ weekly school readiness program, “Let’s Play and Learn Together.”

Let’s Play and Learn Together is a free, weekly drop-in program for children up to five years old. Registration is not required in order to attend. Parents and grandparents are welcome to stop by with their children to engage in a variety of fun and educational activities designed to acclimate preschoolers to the classroom learning environment and provide parents with tools to aid in their children’s development.

“I would highly recommend Let’s Play and Learn Together for anyone who has a preschooler,” Wuitschick said. “My grandson and I looked forward to attending every week. The program’s leaders do a fantastic job of sharing songs, games, and learning activities that help kids prepare for kindergarten, and it’s an excellent resource for parents and grandparents looking for activities they could do at home to follow up on the weekly lessons.”

Mike Michaud, Battle Ground Public Schools’ Director of Instructional Leadership for early childhood and primary schools, says Let’s Play and Learn emphasizes skill development in oral language and vocabulary. The program also includes Bridges pre-k curriculum to expose children to the math vocabulary and manipulatives they will see as BGPS students. The district just adopted Bridges for its new math curriculum in K-5 classrooms.

“Taking advantage of early learning opportunities helps ensure appropriate cognitive development and prepares students for academic success,” Michaud said. “School readiness activities not only help develop learning skills and prepare children for the classroom environment, but also help young children develop confidence and social skills as they interact with their peers and program leaders.”

Parent education is a key component built into the Let’s Play and Learn Together program, as parents attend and observe the modeled lessons with their children. At the end of each weekly session, instructors highlight strategies for parents to use at home to be more effective in aiding their child’s learning development.

“As an educator and a grandparent, I know that extra supports and early learning opportunities are invaluable for young children,” Wuitschick said. “Many parents simply don’t have the opportunity or the knowledge of what types of activities are good preparation for kindergarten, which is why Let’s Play and Learn Together is such a tremendous resource.”

Let’s Play and Learn Together sessions for the 2019-20 school year begin Tuesday, September 24, and will be held each week throughout the year. The program is available at the following times and locations:

  • Mondays at Daybreak Primary School from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
  • Tuesdays at Yacolt Primary School from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
  • Wednesdays at Daybreak Primary School from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
  • Thursdays at Tukes Valley Primary from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
  • Fridays at Glenwood Heights Primary from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

If you have questions about Let’s Play and Learn Together, please call (360) 885-5428.