Universal Pre-Kindergarten

The Ballston Area Community Center (BACC) offers Universal Prekindergarten Program (UPK) for the 2019-2020 school year. An eligible child is a child who resides within the Ballston Spa Central School District (BSCSD) and who is four years of age on or before December 1st or otherwise eligible to attend kindergarten following school year, 2019-2020.

The 2 ½ hour, state-funded program is taught by a certified teachers with training in early education. The research based curriculum will promote a child’s total growth and development in all areas including emergent literacy that will instill life long independent learning skills.

BACC offers two sessions at its facility, 20 Malta Ave., in the Village of Ballston Spa. The morning session is from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the afternoon session will be from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The sessions run from September through June, following the school district calendar.

BACC does not currently have a transportation service for this program. Families and child care providers who wish to take advantage of this free enrichment program for their children will need to provide transportation to and from BACC.

For information on openings please call 885-3261 extension 4 and leave a message.

Our Day

Arrival and Free Play

Before entering the classroom, all students need to wash their hands. When students enter the classroom, they will pick a free play center. Each day, the children will socialize with different classmates while participating in purposeful play.

Circle Time

Each day, we will be reviewing the calendar and learning about the days of the week, the months, the seasons, letters, numbers, and phonics. We will also sing, dance, practice sitting, learn about our emotions and listen to our friends on their special show and tell days.

Project Time

During project time, students will spend time learning letters, numbers, shapes, colors, science, and math! Through fine motor activities like cutting, pasting and painting, students will have the opportunity to develop their hand strength, dexterity, creativity, and time management skills.

Story

Each day, the children will listen to a story. In our classroom, we try to incorporate both fiction and non-fiction books relevant to what we are currently learning about.

Snack

Please provide your child with one small, healthy snack and drink each day. We would appreciate it if you sent your child to school with a snack in a small reusable bag or container and a juice box or NO SPILL water bottle that will be easy for your child to open and eat/drink independently. We will notify you of any allergies in the classroom.

Gross Motor

Each day, your child will receive at least 20 minutes of gross motor time. If the weather permits, we will use our playground. Otherwise, the children will learn to skip, gallop, and play a variety of games in our gym.

Dismissal

We will end everyday by coming back together as a large group to discuss our day, upcoming events and to sing a goodbye song. This time is used to build a sense of community and foster relationships within our classroom. Please try to be punctual at pick-up as our rooms are used by other students immediately after program.

Staff

Sarah McKinley

Teacher

Email: sarahsmckinley@gmail.com

Sarah McKinley graduated from Union College with a BS in Psychology. She earned her Masters in Elementary Education from Manhattanville College and received permanent NYS certification in Pre-K thru 6th grade. She started her teaching career at Greenwich Country Day School in CT. She continued her teaching career at The King School in Stamford, CT. Sarah moved to Ballston Spa in 2003 and taught at The Saratoga Independent School. She took some time off from teaching when she had her two daughters, but continued to tutor numerous students over the years. Sarah loves spending time with her daughters, cooking, taking walks with her dog, kayaking and spending her summers at the St. Lawrence River. She is very excited to be teaching Pre-K for her 9th year at the BACC.

Aaren Harris

Teacher

Email: aarengrace@gmail.com

This is Aaren’s 3rd year with BACC as a UPK teacher. Aaren graduated from Union College with a Bachelor’s in English Literature in 1999 and began working in special education at the Oak Hill School in Burnt Hills. In her twenties, Aaren hiked all three of America’s long distance hiking trails- The Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. She also apprenticed on a local organic vegetable farm and became interested in homesteading and farming. She lives on a farm in Greenfield with her husband, 5 year old son and many chickens! It was during her time farming that she realized that she would love to teach young children some of the skills she was learning as a homesteader. She began working in early childhood as a special education teaching assistant in an integrated Head Start/ Capital District Beginnings classroom in Ballston Spa. After four amazing years there, Aaren decided to pursue her Masters in Early Childhood Education at St. Rose and to start her own family. She is certified to teach children birth to grade 2, but prefers four year olds! Aaren loves homesteading, hiking, canoeing, camping, gardening, beekeeping, knitting, carving and being outdoors. She feels super lucky to be a part of the BACC community.

Courtney LaVarnway

Teacher

Email: mrs.lavarnway@gmail.com

This is Courtney LaVarnway’s first year with the BACC team. She graduated from Plattsburgh State University with a BS in Childhood Education. Courtney began her teaching career at Pyramids Child Development Center in Morrisonville, NY. While teaching, she earned her Masters in Special Education from Plattsburgh State University and her permanent NYS certification in Special Education. Courtney moved to the Ballston Spa area in 2011 and began teaching for Albany County Head Start. After over four years with Head Start she took some time off to be home with her growing family. She loves walks year round at the Saratoga Spa State Park with her husband, two daughters, and son. Courtney enjoys vegetable gardening, summers in the Adirondacks, the ocean, baking, scrapbooking, and reading. She is excited to be part of this wonderful program and great community at BACC.

Documents & Forms

Use the links below to download the following program forms.

Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) Welcome Packet 2019