Morris School District Preschool Program
Welcome to the Morris School District Preschool Program. Our goal is to provide high-quality preschool for every child in Morristown and Morris Township. In collaboration with district administrators and partner preschool sites, we strive to ensure that every child has a strong foundation and can reach their full potential in all areas of development.
- MSD Preschool Contacts
- Pupil Services
- Child Find
- Preschool Locations
- Developmentally Appropriate Practice for Preschool
- FAQ About Preschool
- Employment Opportunities
MSD Preschool Contacts
- Deanne Guastello, Principal (973) 292-2222 Ext. 1125
- Jarlyn Veras, Early Childhood Supervisor: (973) 292-2222
- Gabriela Lorelli, Secretary (973) 292-2222 Ext. 1100
- Deborah Korczukowski, Nurse (973) 292-2222 Ext. 1121
- Carolina Mendonca, CPIS (973)292-2222 Ext. 2073
- Barbara Cobilich, Master Teacher (973)292-2222 Ext. 1153
- Jennifer Mocko, PIRT Specialist (973) 292-2222 Ext. 1109
Pupil Services Staff Directory
Director of Pupil Services:
- Marc Gold 973-292-2300 Ext. 2040
Supervisor of Special Education Prek-5
- Danae Heywood 973-292-2300 Ext. 2113
Child Study Team at Lafayette Learning Center:
- Psychologist: Dr. Janis Golob 973-292-2222 Ext. 1124
- L.D.T.C.: Socorro Santana 973-292-2222 Ext. 1152
- School Counselor: Nicole Mercado 973-292-2222 Ext. 1150
- Speech Therapist: Beverly Corona, Danielle Catanzaro 973-292-2222 Ext. 1129
Project Child Find
If you are concerned that your preschool child is developing or learning differently, you can contact the District to request an evaluation for preschool special education and related services. For more information, call 973-292-2222. Three-year-old children with special needs are eligible for preschool on or after their third birthday.
Lafayette Learning Center, 31 Hazel Street, Morristown, NJ
Hillcrest Elementary, 160 Hillcrest Avenue, Morristown, NJ
Alfred Vail Elementary, 125 Speedwell Avenue, Morris Plains, NJ
Partner Preschool Sites:
Richard Blake Children's Center, 65 Horsehill Road, Cedar Knolls, NJ
The Children's Corner, 475 South Street, Morristown, NJ
YMCA-6 Saddle, 6 Saddle Road, Cedar Knolls, NJ
Head Start Central Ave. Complex, 1 Medical Drive, Morris Plains, NJ
Salvation Army, 95 Spring Street, Morristown, NJ
Temple B'Nai Or, 60 Overlook Road, Morristown, NJ
Kirby Children's Center, 54 East Street, Madison, NJ
Morristown Neighborhood House, 12 Flagler Street, Morristown, NJ
The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool is a comprehensive, research-based curriculum that features exploration and discovery as a way of learning. The goal of the Creative Curriculum is to help children become independent, self-confident, inquisitive and enthusiastic learners by actively exploring their environment. The curriculum is one of the New Jersey Department of Education’s four recommended curricula.
The preschool system is based on 38 different objectives for development and learning, and offers educators daily opportunities to individualize instruction. These research-based objectives are the heart of the curriculum and define the path teachers take with children in their classroom.
The philosophy behind Creative Curriculum© is built on theories of development in young children, that all children learn through active exploration of their environment and therefore the environment plays a critical role in learning. It is built on the importance of using developmentally appropropriate practices that match how children develop and learn so as to promote their optimal development and learning. Early childhood educators make informed decisions about their teaching with an understanding of child development and expectations, interest of the children, strengths and areas of growth, and the cultures of each child’s family and community.
The curriculum is rooted with five key principles that guide and support the intentional setup of the environment and other programs aspects. These principles include positive and supportive interactions and relationships, a constructive, purposeful play based approach, teaching of social-emotional competence, a quality physical environment, and family partnerships. All of these principles influence an understanding of development and learning and are essential to a child’s physical structure of the brain.
The Morris School District is driven with a comprehensive strategic plan, The Way Forward, in which it is committed to ensuring each student entering Kindergarten will meet or exceed standards in all core subjects by the end of 3rd grade. The Preschool Program will support this plan with a rigorous developmentally appropriate curriculum and an assessment program that deepens our knowledge of each student in all areas of development and learning. With Teaching Strategies GOLD, the 38 objectives inform every aspect of teaching, include predictors of school success, and are aligned to the New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards as well as the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Throughout the day teachers use observation to collect anecdotal notes, and other forms of evidence such as work samples, pictures, and video interactions between peers and with teachers. This information is carefully analyzed to identify areas of strength and growth in each student, inform instruction, create lesson plans, and guide individual learning.
The study approach is a method of integrating content learning through children’s investigations of a meaningful topic. Children raise questions about the topic, and through exploration and discovery they find answers to their questions. Plus, the study approach not only allows children to gain a deeper understanding of the topic but also encourages them to develop skills across all domains as they apply the investigative process.
Teachers will be receiving ongoing professional development to support the implementation of the curriculum. In addition, we have support staff that will also provide individualized coaching opportunities throughout the school year.
Parent involvement :
Opportunities for involving families are built into The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool. The resources and guidance embedded throughout the curriculum help teachers build essential bridges between school and home and create meaningful partnerships with families. Guidance and support for including families are built right into daily plans, with regular opportunities to invite and include family participation.
Preschool Program Specialists:
Master Teacher/ Coaches provide and maintain high levels of quality by helping and supporting preschool teachers. They visit classrooms on a regular basis to coach and provide feedback to teachers to improve teaching practices through the reflective cycle. Coaches use performance-based assessment data and results of structured classroom observations to determine and support a high level of curriculum implementation, plan specific goals and training opportunities, including, but not limited to, modeling classroom practices and lessons, facilitating PLC meetings, and planning and implementing workshops.
PIRT: (Preschool Intervention and Referral Team Specialist)
Through the implementation of a positive behavior support plan (PBS), the PIRT specialist provides support and suggested interventions to teachers so that all children can succeed in the classroom.
The PIRT Team/Committee assists preschool staff in addressing children’s persistent challenging behaviors through the use of strategies and interventions. This team may include teachers, master teachers, behavior specialists, psychologists, learning disability teacher-consultants, school social workers, speech and language pathologists or other specialists.
CPIS: (Community and Parent Involvement Specialist)
The CPIS or Parent Liaison oversees the district’s family services. The CPIS is responsible for facilitating the community needs assessment, organizing family involvement plans and activities, and coordinating work with other school district professionals and community agencies and providers. The CPIS also supports staff and parent education needs around children’s social-emotional health, restorative practices, culturally responsive teaching, and challenging behaviors.
Please click HERE for information about beneficial learning activities for preschool-aged children. This resource offers helpful guidance on how to select developmentally appropriate activities at home, including during our extended school closure.
Morris School District
31 Hazel Street – Morristown – New Jersey 07960
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Morris School District Publicly-Funded Preschool Program
Must we be residents of the Morris School District to participate?
Yes, all applicants MUST be residents of Morristown or Morris Township, without exception.
Are there income or other restrictions for free-tuition spaces?
Tuition is free for our full-day preschool classrooms, regardless of family income. Funding is provided through grant funding called Preschool Education Aid from the NJ Department of Education.
How old does my child have to be in order to attend a district preschool classroom?
Students must be age 3 or 4 on October 1st of the year in which they begin preschool.
Does my child have to be toilet trained?
What medical records are required prior to the start of school?
Current physical (from within one year’s time)
Proof of a dental visit (no more than 1 yr old)
A flu shot is also required by December 31st of each school year.
How do we register for this program?
Registration needs to be completed online at https://www.morrisschooldistrict.org/offices/registration.
Are there limited spaces? If so, how do you determine who gets in?
We have limited space and will conduct a lottery if our initial number of applications exceeds the number of available slots.
What happens if we have twins or multiple children eligible for preschool?
An application for each child must be completed. If one sibling is awarded a spot, the other sibling will also be given a spot.
Is registration required every year?
Three-year-old children that were in our program and want to continue to be in our program as a four-year-old will not need a new application.
Where are classrooms located?
Classrooms are located at the Lafayette Learning Center Preschool, Hillcrest Elementary School, Alfred Vail Elementary School and at our partnering providers. Our partnering providers for 2020-21 include: Head Start, The Greater Morristown YMCA , Neighborhood House, Temple B’Nai Or, Salvation Army, and FM Kirby Children’s Center
How did you select district partners?
The district first identifies existing licensed early childhood education centers within the area that are already demonstrating a quality program. Once these sites are identified, a district team conducts site visits to identify whether facilities and classroom requirements are met per the NJDOE guidelines.
Do families get to select preferred locations or are placements assigned?
No, placements are assigned by the Morris School District according to sending area (neighborhood zones) first. Depending on the applicant pool, your child may be assigned to any one of our participating partner sites.
What if I am not happy with my placement?
Placements are determined by location and spaces available. If you are unhappy with your placement, you have the option to decline the spot.
Are siblings given priority, even after older child is out of Pre-K? Would they go to the same site?
If an older sibling is out of Prek, the younger sibling is not given priority or the same placement the older child was given.
Can I request that my child be placed at the same site as another prospective student?
Requests for same placement as another student cannot be granted.
What are the class sizes?
There is a maximum of 15 children in a class.
What is the length of the school day?
The regular school day is 6 hours and 20 minutes. The school year is 180 days from September through June. All preschool programs follow the district calendar.
What is the student:staff ratio? Are all staff fully certified?
There is one teacher and one teacher assistant for a class of 15 students.
All Certified Teachers shall hold a Bachelor’s Degree and, at a minimum, a certificate of eligibility or certificate of eligibility with advanced standing for Preschool through Grade Three certification or other equivalent preschool certification, as set forth in N.J.A.C. 6A:9B et seq. All Teacher Assistants, both new hires and existing staff have, at a minimum, a high school diploma or its equivalent.
What curriculum is used?
All preschool classrooms in our in-district and partner classrooms use the Creative Curriculum, a research-based, comprehensive curriculum for 3- and 4-year old students. The Creative Curriculum is built on age-appropriate developmental theories that affirm that all children learn through active exploration of their environment and therefore the environment plays a critical role in learning. The goal of the Creative Curriculum is to help children become independent, self-confident, inquisitive and enthusiastic learners by actively exploring their environment. The Morris School District plans professional development opportunities throughout the year that allow for collaboration for all of our classroom teachers.
How do you assess students?
All sites use a developmental screening within the first 30-45 days of school. Families will be notified prior to the screening and with the results. All preschool classrooms in our in-district and partner classrooms use Teaching Strategies GOLD which is an ongoing, observation-based assessment system for assessing children from birth through kindergarten. It helps teachers to observe children in the context of everyday experiences, which is an effective way to assess what they know and what they can do. Teaching Strategies GOLD is based on 38 objectives for development and learning that include predictors of school success and are based on school readiness standards. The objectives are aligned with the NJ Student Learning Standards and NJ Birth to Three Early Learning Standards. These objectives are at the heart of the system; teachers use them to focus their observations as they gather information to make classroom decisions.
How are satellite classrooms monitored by the district for consistency?
The Morris School District and all the partnering providers use the same curriculum and assessment. There are monthly collaborative meetings with the LLC Principal and our partner directors. These meetings are centered around program quality and implementation of the curriculum and assessment. Program oversight by our Master Teachers and Preschool Intervention and Referral Team (PIRT) Specialist is continuous through the use of structured observation tools that determine quality teaching practice. These tools include Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS 3) and Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT). Our Master Teachers and PIRT regularly conduct observations and provide support to classroom teachers through observations and coaching.
Will transportation be provided?
Families may complete and submit a transportation request form at the time of registration. If you qualify for transportation, bussing will be accommodated for transportation to and from school within Morristown/Township locations only.
Will there be tours of placement sites?
Yes, site visits will be available in April, after placement results are shared with families.
What are the options for before and after school child care?
Most sites offer before and after care. Extra costs and other parameters regarding this before/after icare are set by each individual program, not by the district.
WHEN DISABILITY IS SUSPECTED:
What if I suspect my child has a disability? Who do I contact?
Parents who suspect their child has a disability should contact the Lafayette Learning Center Office (973) 292-2222 and ask for the Child Study Team.
When do services begin for a preschooler with qualified disabilities?
A student with a disability is eligible to receive a free and appropriate education at the beginning of their third birthday.
What placement options are available for my child with disabilities?
Our preschool program has both general education and self-contained classrooms at locations. Placement will be determined upon eligibility. Our self-contained classrooms are located at the Lafayette Learning Center. Our inclusion classrooms are throughout Lafayette Learning Center and at our Head Start locations.
Is space limited for preschoolers with disabilities?
No, we have unlimited space for students who qualify for special education and related services.