4K Frequently Asked Questions


    Can a childcare provider charge a fee for the 4K program?
    No, childcare providers cannot charge a fee for the 4K program.  However, if your child needs care before or after 4K (wraparound care) a fee may be charged.  The SPAPSD provides each site with student fee money intended to eliminate the need for families to pay for student fees in 4K. 

    What is wraparound care?
    Wraparound care is childcare outside of the school day.  District community 4K sites that offer wraparound care are:  Canaland Christian Day Care and Preschool, Children's Discovery Center, Community Child Care Center, Excel Preschool, HRG-UCLCC, Kennedy Elementary School, Little Scholars, Little Scholars Beginnings, Pacelli Catholic Tim Copps Early Childhood Center, Pacelli Catholic Schools St. Bronislava, Trinity Learning Center and Preschool, and the YMCA (Stevens Point location only).

    Is transportation available for 4K?
    Transportation (busing) is available for 4K and is provided by the SPAPSD.  If students wish to utilize transportation (busing) to and from 4K, they must attend a 4K site that lies within the transportation boundaries.  If the student will not be utilizing transportation (self-transporting), the student may register to attend any 4K site based upon available space.

    What schedule do 4K students follow?
    For the 2023 - 2024 and 2024 - 2025 School Year 4K student follow the SPAPSD Calendar, but only attend school Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
    Can a child who is not enrolled with the District "sit-in" during the 4K class period?
    No, the only students permitted to attend 4K are those currently enrolled with the District for 4K.  Childcare students who are not enrolled in the SPAPSD 4K program are not permitted to attend during the SPAPSD 4K program. 



    When does enrollment begin?
    All enrollment will take place online.  For more information, please visit 4K Enrollment for the 2023-2024 School Year.  For the fall school year, visit 4K Enrollment 2024-2025 school year.

    Who is eligible to attend 4K?
    4K is open to all students who turn 4 years old on or before September 1 of the school year they wish to enroll in. 

    Is there early entrance to 4K?
    No, there is no early entrance to 4K.

    Can a student be retained in 4K?
    Promotion or retention of a student shall be based on the following factors: ability, age, achievement, and emotional/physical/social maturity.  Please view Board Policy 5410 Promotion and Retention of Students for additional information regarding retention in 4K.

    Do I need to provide a proof of my address?
    The SPAPSD will require a proof of address from the parents or guardians of the student.  The address verification will assist with busing/transportation.  This will be required prior to the start of the school year.  Please view Board Policy 5112 Entrance Age for additional information regarding Verification of Residence.  More information will be included in the 4K Site Confirmation Letter on this process.

    Will I be required to provide my child's birth certificate?
    The SPAPSD will need to verify the birth certificate of the student.  The purpose of this is to verify the age of the student and will be required prior to the beginning of the school year. More information will be included in the 4K Site Confirmation Letter on this process. 

    What is Open Enrollment?
    Open Enrollment is when a student enrolls into a school district outside their district of residence. This is a Department of Public Instruction (DPI) procedure.  Students must be approved for Open Enrollment by DPI before they can be placed in a District 4K classroom. For more information, or to apply for open enrollment, please visit the WI DPI website.

    Are Open Enrollments accepted in 4K?
    Open Enrollments are accepted for 4K provided the district the student resides in also offers 4K.  For more information please view the Open Enrollment Information page of our SPAPSD website.

    How are site placements determined?
    Site placements are determined on a first come, first served basis. What is 4K Parent Outreach? Family Outreach is a big part of 4K in the SPAPSD.  Annually, the District provides more than 87.5 hours of family outreach. Outreach opportunities provide families different venues to learn about and be involved in their children's education.  For more information on family outreach please CLICK HERE. The SPAPSD provides the majority of their required 87.5 hours of outreach through the following venues: home-to-school book/activity bags, the 4K Family Outreach Calendar, occasional handouts, and events at local businesses such as:  The Portage County Library, the Central Wisconsin Children's Museum, Clay Corners, the UW-Stevens Point Natural History Museum, and the YMCA. Each 4K site is encouraged to facilitate site specific outreach events in addition to what the District provides and is provided resources to do so.  Families are encouraged to participate in these events in an effort to provide all students with common experiences prior to the start of 5K.   


    Should there be play in 4K? 
    YES.  Play should be a big part of 4K.  In fact, children learn best through play.  The SPAPSD's 4K curriculum is based upon a play based learning environment.  However, play in 4K should look different than "free for all play" as it should be intentionally planned.  A nice venue for play in 4K is the dramatic play center.  In a dramatic play center, teachers set up the learning environment based on real world experiences.  For example, to start the school year, a teacher may create a school bus out of a large cardboard box and allow students to "play" in the bus for a period of time. Ideally, print is incorporated into the center and appropriate play skills are modeled. For more information about play in 4K, please read Today's Play…Tomorrow's Success!  In the dramatic play area, two 4K students are pretending to take an order at a restaurant.  The classroom teacher notices that neither student has assumed the role of "waiter."  So, she takes the notepad and pencil strategically placed in the area and asks, "May I take your order?"  She writes what the students say and proceeds to prepare their order for them.  Over the next few days, several other students join in the restaurant play.  Waiters set tables, take orders, prepare and serve food, and clean up all based upon the model that the teacher provided.  Through this process, a few important skills are developed:  vocabulary and language, social emotional readiness, and early literacy and math skills, just to name a few.  

    What is SMART? 
    Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training (SMART) is a readiness approach that helps children fully develop their brains and bodies for the demands of learning.  The program suggests that classrooms provide 20 minutes of engaged SMART time each day. SMART allows children ample opportunity to develop their gross and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, visual and auditory stamina and much more.   The SPAPSD feels strongly about SMART and provided professional development opportunities to the 4K staff, in the summer of 2013.  District early childhood itinerant staff, 4K teachers, and directors were all trained in the approach.  Site directors and teachers should be able to provide you with more information about SMART.  

    What is an appropriate class size for 4K?  
    Class size in 4K is based upon childcare licensing criteria, rather than instructional criteria.  Licensing criteria bases class size on square footage but allows up to 24 students in a classroom.   Research suggests that a smaller teacher to student ratio is more effective.  The District encourages sites to have a maximum class size of 18 students. 



    Are there common core standards in 4K?  
    There are no common core standards in 4K.  However, the SPAPSD has based its 4K curriculum on the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS).  WMELS were created for students' age birth through first grade.  Students that meet the developmental expectations outlined in the WMELS will be prepared for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in kindergarten. 

    Is there a 4K curriculum?  
    The Frog Street Excel curriculum is used in 4K.  The Excel curriculum is a high-quality, research-based curriculum that is organized into nine themes (My School & Me, My Family & Friends, Giants, Choices, Stories & Rhymes, I Build! I Create!, Things That Move, Animals, and Changes).  Each of them builds upon connections in all developmental areas.  The curriculum focuses on play-based learning opportunities with a strong emphasis on Social-Emotional, Math, and Literacy skill development.  Lessons are designed to fit visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles.  

    Is there a report card in 4K? 
    There is a report card in 4K.  The 4K Progress Report is sent home in trimesters which allows teachers more time to get to know their students prior to the initial reporting period in the fall and more time for students to demonstrate growth between reporting periods. The report card addresses social and gross motor development as well as general pre-academic skills. The 4K report card is a rubric which objectively states what is expected for each skill and category of development. A student must meet all criteria for a score to be given in a particular category. Each category is based on a developmental continuum rather than on a pass/fail basis.  
    Students generally acquire skill development in order and over time. The four stages of development outlined on the report card are:

    • Beginning: student is demonstrating beginning skill acquisition
    • Developing: student is demonstrating progress towards skill acquisition
    • Meets Expectations: student meets grade level expectations
    • Exceeds Expectations: student exceeds grade level expectations

    We would like to see students in the "Meet Expectations" category by the end of their 4K school year.  However, some may be above and/or below that category. 

    Is handwriting taught in 4K? 
    Handwriting Without Tears is the handwriting program used in 4K.  This program allows for the development of foundational handwriting skills, such as top-to-bottom, left-to-right directionality skills and appropriate grasp techniques.  An important factor in developing handwriting readiness is to provide ample opportunities to develop hand strength before encouraging age appropriate grasp techniques.  These skills are highlighted throughout each week through a variety of practice techniques.  

    Should worksheets be used in 4K?  
    Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) would suggest that worksheets not be used in 4K as children learn best through play.  

    Is there a suggested schedule for 4K classrooms to follow?  
    Best practice suggests that 1/3 of instruction be direct, 1/3 be experiential, and 1/3 be child initiated.  Considering our 190 minute school day, a recommend schedule would consist of approximately 60 minutes of intentional play (non-interrupted, if possible), 60 minutes of routine (turning in folders, dressing and undressing, bathroom, snack, and etc.), and 60 minutes of direct instruction (small group or large group).  

    Can religious instruction take place?  
    No, religious instruction cannot take place in 4K. Though some of our 4K classrooms are housed in a parochial school setting, 4K is a public school offering and adheres to public school requirements.