Partner Up for Success: Why Your Involvement Matters in Your Child’s Journey

Teacher sitting on rug with children all around working together in a classroom setting

We all know a child’s education starts in the classroom, but the real magic happens when learning extends beyond those four walls. That’s where Families As Partners comes in – it’s your chance to take a front seat in your child’s journey and join a powerhouse community of engaged families.

But why is parent involvement so important?

Studies show that children with involved families have better grades, higher graduation rates, and even stronger social skills. They feel supported, motivated, and confident knowing their biggest cheerleaders are beside them.

Parents at a table working on educational activities

Families As Partners isn’t just about cheering; it’s about doing. Here’s how your involvement makes a difference:

  • Community Building: You’ll connect with other families, sharing triumphs and tackling challenges together. This network becomes your support system, a wellspring of advice and shared experiences.
  • Parenting Powerhouse: From planning events to shaping curriculum, your voice matters. You’ll work alongside teachers and fellow families to create a thriving school environment.
  • Leadership Lab: By forming committees and advocating for your child’s needs, you’ll develop valuable leadership skills that inspire not just your kids, but everyone around you.

Parents sitting in a group discussing parenting

The Families As Partners program is proof that families are not merely spectators in their child’s educational journey but active contributors to their growth and success. By providing a platform for collective empowerment, this program enables families to be instrumental in shaping the educational landscape for their children.

Together, we can build a vibrant learning community where every child feels empowered to reach their full potential. Contact your Center’s Family Liaison to learn how to get involved.

Welcome to Kinder!

Mom and young girl talking to an elementary school representative at a booth

As you celebrate the conclusion of your child’s Pre-K 4 SA journey, a mix of excitement for kindergarten and a touch of nervousness pervades, both for them and for you. But don’t worry, Pre-K 4 SA is here to guide you and your child towards a smooth and enriching transition.

Finding the Perfect Kindergarten Fit

Selecting the right kindergarten for your child is an important decision, and we recognize that every child flourishes in unique settings. That’s why, at Pre-K 4 SA, we organize a special “Welcome to Kinder” event at each of our centers, dedicated to assisting you in making the best choice for your new kindergartener.

The primary goal of this event is to provide support to families as they navigate the process of selecting a kindergarten to ensure a smooth and developmentally appropriate transition to this new chapter. We invite various school partners to engage in meaningful conversations about their programs, resources, and approaches to creating a high-quality learning environment. Our partners are committed to embracing and upholding Pre-K 4 SA’s mission and values, which prioritize providing exceptional learning opportunities.

Seamless Transition, Happy Learners

Transitioning to kindergarten can be intimidating. While routines and goodbye rituals create stability, the emotional transition to kindergarten hinges on social-emotional readiness. Encourage independence by letting your child dress themselves, pack their bag, and use the bathroom confidently. Practice expressing emotions healthily by role-playing scenarios and teaching them “I feel…” statements. Consistent sleep schedules prepare them for longer days, and packing together instills responsibility.

Most importantly, open communication is key. Talk about their worries, answer questions honestly, and reassure them of your unwavering support. Remember, a confident and emotionally prepared child adapts to new environments more easily.

Man at a Gardendale booth talking to representatives about the school

Your Pre-K 4 SA Education Can Continue

Looking for a seamless transition filled with engaging learning and family support? Our Gardendale Early Learning Program, powered by Pre-K 4 SA, offers a unique opportunity. Your child can continue their high-quality play-based curriculum that fosters creativity, independence, and critical thinking. This continuity ensures a smooth transition, both academically and emotionally. Dedicated teachers in small classes provide personalized attention and emotional support, creating a nurturing environment where your child can thrive. And the best part? As a Pre-K 4 SA alum, your child enjoys priority enrollment, making the transition to Gardendale familiar and effortless.

By supporting families and ensuring a smooth transition, Pre-K 4 SA paves the way for happy, confident learners. Remember, we’re here every step of the way. Let’s make this journey an informed and enjoyable experience for you and your family.

Growing Healthy with Garden Salad Fun

A serving of salad with vinaigrette

Today, let’s create a simple and tasty Garden Salad together. It’s not just about veggies; it’s about having a good time in the kitchen. So, gather your little chefs, and let’s make a colorful Garden Salad that’s as fun to make as it is to eat.

Before we start, let’s talk about why eating different colors is good for us. Just like a garden needs various things to grow, our bodies need different nutrients to be healthy. Eating a variety of colorful foods helps us get those nutrients, and it’s also fun! Making a salad is like creating a colorful masterpiece with food.

Garden Salad Recipe

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Ingredients:

  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Parsley
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

Equipment:

  • Knife
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Bowl

Step 1: With the help of an adult, cut lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber into small pieces. Add them to a bowl.

Step 2: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of shredded carrots using a tablespoon. This not only adds a sweet crunch but also brings color to our salad.

Step 3: Tear some fresh parsley leaves and toss them into the bowl. The bright green parsley adds flavor to our salad.

Step 4: Measure 1 teaspoon of sunflower seeds using a teaspoon. Sprinkle them over the salad for a delightful crunch.

Step 5: Ask an adult to help you mix a simple dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pour 1 teaspoon of this dressing over your salad.

Step 6: Take a spoon or fork and gently toss everything together until the veggies are coated in the dressing. Your Garden Salad is now ready to be enjoyed.

There you have it – a Garden Salad full of colors, flavors, and fun. It’s tasty and a fantastic way to learn about different veggies. Enjoy your salad adventure, little chefs! Keep having fun and eating healthy. Now it’s time for the Vinaigrette!

Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

downloadDownload Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 Teaspoon Honey
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • Pepper (just a little bit)

Equipment:

  • Jar
  • Lemon Squeezer
  • Teaspoon

Step 1: Get your jar and pour in 1/2 cup of olive oil. This is like the base for our special dressing.

Step 2: Grab a lemon squeezer and squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into the jar. Lemons are the heroes here – they’re tangy and bring a lot of flavor.

Step 3: Measure 1 teaspoon of honey and drop it into the jar. Honey adds a bit of sweetness to balance the lemony zing.

Step 4: Add a pinch (or 1/2 teaspoon) of salt to the jar. It might seem tiny, but it makes our dressing taste just right.

Step 5: Sprinkle just a little bit of pepper into the jar. Pepper adds a tiny kick, making things interesting.

Step 6: Put the lid on the jar, ensure it’s tight, and then shake it well. Shake, shake, shake! That’s it – your Cool Lemon Vinaigrette is ready to make your salads awesome.

Now, you have a super easy and cool dressing to make your salad taste even better. Try it out, little chefs, and have fun in the kitchen! Until next time, keep it cool and keep on cooking.

Things to Do Over Winter Break 

A Child makes paper snowflakes

From light displays that brighten up the city to community movie nights fostering togetherness, there are plenty of free, festive moments for you and your family across San Antonio during this holiday break. 
 

FREE PICTURES WITH SANTA! 

When: December 22, 2023  

Where: 910 SE Military Dr. San Antonio, TX 78214 

Cost: FREE 

Bring your camera or phone! Enjoy some hot cocoa and candy canes with Santa inside UCAS, University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences!  

-Pictures with Santa🎅 

-Hot Cocoa ☕️ 

-Candy Canes🍬 

-Bike Raffle 🚲
 

Holiday Movies at Legacy Park
When: December 22, and 29, 2023, 7:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
Where: Legacy Park, 103 W. Houston St., San Antonio
Cost: FREE 

These holiday movies at Legacy Park are free all season long, brought to you by Legacy Park, Slab Cinema, Centro, and CCDO. Bring blankets, lawn chairs, non-alcoholic drinks, and snacks with you, and enjoy Hollywood’s most popular holiday movies. 

  • December 22, “Home Alone” 
  • December 29, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

 

H-E-B Feast of Sharing Holiday Plate Giveaway
When: December 23, 2023
Where: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 900 E. Market Street, San Antonio
Cost: FREE 

H-E-B continues its tradition of feeding the local community with its Feast of Sharing holiday plate giveaway, welcoming all San Antonians to join their neighbors for a free, Texas-style, holiday feast. The Feast of Sharing entertains the family with live music, family activities, and free health and wellness services such as flu shots, and more. Come one, come all!

 

37th Annual Light the Way
When: Now – January 6, 2024
Where: University of the Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway, San Antonio
Cost: FREE 

The annual holiday lights at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) illuminate the way across the campus throughout the holiday season! Enjoy a drive or stroll beginning at 4301 Broadway and admire the one million twinkling lights across the university grounds.

 

Holiday Lights on the Riverwalk
When: Now – January 7, 2024
Where: San Antonio Riverwalk
Cost: FREE 

Every year, the San Antonio River Authority creates a brilliant display all along the downtown stretch of the River Walk. People come from all over to stroll along the river and enjoy the famous sparkly Holiday Lights on the River Walk. Soak in the sights and experience the sounds of the season as caroling boats float along the river in the downtown area. And don’t miss the lights through the Museum Reach and Pearl District!

 

San Antonio Holidays on Houston Street
When: Now – January 2, 2024
Where: Houston St., Downtown San Antonio
Cost: FREE 

Enjoy a new, free holiday experience from the city as a five-block stretch of historic Houston Street, from Legacy Park to the Alamo, is transformed into major downtown holiday attraction, perfect for lights viewing and photo opportunities. Holidays on Houston Street is open and free for anyone to visit, with the exception of a special ticketed event on December 12. They will also host special events like a holiday market December 15-17 featuring local vendors, carolers, and other live entertainment, and festive photo ops. Each night of the holiday market, they will also show Holiday Lights in the Sky (a drone light show). 

More San Antonio Public Library events can be found here: https://www.mysapl.org/Events-News/Events-Calendar

For even more events, check out the Visit San Antonio and Kids Out And About calendar.  

 

Summer Activities in San Antonio

young children run outside in the sun

Looking for fun summer activities for the whole family? There are dozens of budget-friendly options around town that will keep your kids learning and playing until the fall semester begins. Be sure to visit each website below to confirm the most recent hours and pricing.

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4 Ways to Learn During Summer Break

a child climbing an outdoor jungle gym

Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes the potential for children to experience summer learning loss (SLL), aka the “summer slide” — when students are not in school over the break and could forget some of the knowledge and skills they gained during the previous school year. Here are four ways your child can avoid losing last year’s progress. 

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Pre-K 4 SA Fiesta Medal + Coloring Pages!

a hand holds a Pre-K 4 SA Fiesta medal

Happy Fiesta from Pre-K 4 SA! This year’s Fiesta San Antonio medal is particularly special to us because it showcases our newest addition to the Pre-K 4 SA family: 3-year-olds. Enjoy these coloring pages featuring the design.

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Pre-K 4 SA Family Engagement

parents in a Pre-K 4 SA classroom

Pre-K 4 SA believes that supporting a child–along with their entire family–helps children build a successful learning foundation for life. That’s why our Family Engagement Team collaborates closely with teachers, administrators, and staff. The team’s mission is to encourage educational potential in the home, engage families in school leadership, and build on each family’s unique strengths and abilities to cultivate a thriving environment that is sustainable.

We are educating families as a whole through positive parent-child relationships, leadership strategies, and ways to bridge the gap between the living room and the classroom. 

Our programs engage families in two-way communication because families are their children’s first and most important teacher. 

One of our most successful Pre-K 4 SA Family Engagement programs is called Parents as Partners, which gives families a front-row seat to their children’s educational experience. Each center has a Parent Partner Group that works together to build community, engage in the classroom, and provide overall support to teachers and staff. 

There are many programs that families can be involved in at Pre-K for SA. H-E-B Read 3 program selects 25 families from each center and provides one book a month to children to build their reading skills. The Gracias program engages children and their families by partnering local artists with classrooms, and visiting signature sites around San Antonio. Students then create artwork in collaboration with the artist based on their experiences, and the artwork is then exhibited and auctioned for charity. These are just a few ways families can engage in their child’s learning at Pre-K 4 SA.

From planning school events and addressing common concerns, to serving as an advisory committee on curriculum and activities, groups work collaboratively to positively impact each campus. This collaboration includes the formation of parent-led working committees with specific outcomes aligned with curriculum, such as Raising A Reader, Gardening & Outdoor Play, and Parents Helping Parents. 

Pre-K 4 SA’s support of families stretches beyond education. 

Some of our highest utilized resources at Pre-K 4 SA are related to counseling, food assistance, and utility assistance. Our Counseling Support Services connect both adults and children to experts and resources for addressing various family hardships, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or military leave.

Pre-K 4 SA’s Food Referral Services supports families who are facing food insecurity by connecting them to programs that can help. Examples include the San Antonio Food Bank’s shared produce distribution program and offering application assistance for WIC, SNAP, and PEBT benefits.

Utility Assistance and Housing Referrals help guide families who are dealing with disconnection notices and high bills, and support families who have lost housing assistance or are experiencing homelessness. We also connect families with agencies, emergency shelters, and temporary housing programs in times of need.

Family engagement is an everlasting relationship between Pre-K 4 SA staff and the children and families we serve. We are equipping families with the tools they need to be successful, not just for the years we have them–but for life. If you are a caregiver interested in any of the resources mentioned above or ready to become an ambassador of the program, please contact prek4sa@sanantonio.gov. If you are a community member looking to partner with Pre-K 4 SA’s Family Engagement Team, please contact virginia.sandoval@sanantonio.gov

Written by: Virginia Sandoval