Friday, March 28, 2008 | Preschool teacher Sharelle Venable tried to coax an answer from the pint-sized students arrayed in a semi-circle around her, one finger pointing to a laminated sheet titled “How Does a Tree Grow?”
“Remember, we were talking about sequence of order,” she said gently. “We were talking about what happens to a tree. What’s the first thing that you have to do?”
A Flurry of Funding
The tots studied the worksheet intently, surrounded by neat posters listing numbers, letters and the meanings of dinosaur names. Promptly, a 4-year-old answered: Seed the tree.
“Good!” Venable said.
The simple, orderly scene at this Poway preschool belies the complex and often tortuous planning behind classes like Venable’s. Unlike kindergarten or elementary school, preschool isn’t guaranteed free to parents, despite solid evidence of its importance. Funding is scattershot, split between a handful of state and federal programs, each saddled with their own restrictions and requirements.