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Preschool Opportunities Program

When looking at a young child’s development and academic career, we know that having a great foundation is a key component to one’s future success. Although the Sioux Falls School District provides a quality pre-kindergarten program for children at risk, there simply are not enough funded slots available to reach the full need. At times, close to 300 students are on the Head Start waiting list.

The Preschool Opportunities Program (POP) was designed to provide children on the waiting list with an opportunity to receive quality pre-kindergarten programming. Children like Katie…

Katie is taken care of by her grandmother; the two of them live with different family members who let them sleep on their couch. Katie’s mom is around but not a constant in her life. 

At the beginning of her experience in POP, Katie could not write her name, did not know any letters and could barely count. Many of the other girls in her class had these skills; Katie quickly recognized that they knew more than her. 

After just a couple short months, Katie was able to write her name beautifully. She showed great gains in letter recognition as well. Katie was diligently working on these skills at both school and home. Teachers noticed her determination along with the great progress in her work.

Before being exposed to school, Katie did not know what would be expected of her once she entered the classroom setting. Without her experience in POP, she would be starting kindergarten significantly behind her peers. Fortunately, the work ethic Katie developed and the skills she mastered will allow her to be right on track with her peers as she enters kindergarten this fall.

“Watching student growth over the last several months has been remarkable. They have learned how school works and are picking up – some even fully understanding – the different concepts we have been working on since the beginning of the year.” - POP Classroom Leader