Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Four-year-old kindergarten (4K) provides all young children with the opportunity to participate in a quality early learning program that provides a solid foundation for lifelong learning. Children build social and pre-academic skills that contribute to future success in school.

Benefits of 4K include:

  • Guarantee of a Department of Public
    Instruction (DPI) licensed teacher
  • A curriculum that addresses the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards for preschool children
  • Opportunities for early identification of potential learning needs and intervention
  • Expanded parent involvement and training opportunities
  • Additional resources to maintain and build on quality early learning programming

What does 4K look like in the Appleton Area School District?

  • 4K in Appleton is universal for all 4 year olds and is voluntary
  • 4K is a comprehensive child development program providing high-quality learning opportunities for all four-year-old children and their families prior to 5K
  • Appleton Community 4K is implemented using a Community-Based Collaborative Model that
    builds on existing early learning programs, child care centers, private preschools, and Head Start programs, in partnership with the AASD to provide quality early childhood education for four year olds
  • All Appleton Community 4K teachers must be licensed through the Department of Public
    Instruction (DPI)


When did 4K begin in the Appleton Area School District?
On October 8, 2012, the Appleton Area School District Board of Education approved the implementation of 4K and on December 21, 2012, the funding plan was approved. Appleton Community 4K began in the 2013-2014 school year.

Who can participate in 4K?
A child must be 4 years old on or before September 1st and be an AASD resident or have been accepted for open enrollment to enroll in 4-year-old kindergarten for the upcoming school year. For more information please contact [email protected]

Is out-of-school district open enrollment an option?
Yes, open enrollment applies to 4K children, however, only if the child’s resident school district has 4K programming and only if the child is eligible for the program in her or his resident school district [Wis. Stats. § 118.51 (2)].

Do families have a tuition cost for 4K? What will I have to pay for during the year?
There is no tuition fee for 4-year-old kindergarten, regardless of whether the program a child attends is located in a community-based setting or a school building. There will be an annual school fee of approximately $15.00.

What are the days/hours of the program?
Four-year-old kindergarten will follow the modified 4K school year calendar. Children will attend 4K for five days a week for approximately 2 ½ hours in either the am or pm. Individual sites will have the opportunity to request a variation from this schedule. Families will receive information from their assigned site regarding their school calendar at the August 4K Meet & Greet event.

What will class sizes look like?
Typically 4K classrooms have 18 – 22 children with two adults. The AASD has established class size ratios of no more than 7 students to one adult. In addition, class sizes may not exceed 22 students total. Some 4K classrooms may operate with less than 13 students in the classroom.

Is wrap-around care offered before or after 4K?
Many 4K sites will offer wrap-around childcare before and/or after 4K sessions; this option is not available in AASD school host sites. Families may enroll their child in wrap-around childcare at a community-based 4K site (which is a separate process from 4K enrollment), knowing that they will be responsible for any charges for care outside the 4K class time.

What do I do if my child currently attends childcare and I want them to attend 4K? Can I pick the site my child attends?
If a child currently attends an AASD 4K community partner site and families would like their child to attend that site for 4K, they may, dependent on available space. Families who select a site outside of their neighborhood school attendance area will automatically assume responsibility for transportation to and from the 4K site.

Will there be a waiting list for 4K sites that have reached full enrollment?

Waiting lists will not be created for 4K locations. Should a center not have the space to enroll all students who are interested in attending, the district will assign students to another site based on: 1) family site preference, 2) family session preference, and 3) attendance area.

When does enrollment begin?
Enrollment will occur with two enrollment windows. Families already established in 4K community partner locations, who wish to attend in that location, will take place the first two weeks of February. General enrollment will begin the third week of February.

When will I find out which site my child will attend?

Parents will be notified of site assignments in mid-May.

Is early entrance into the AASD 4K Program possible?

Early entrance to 4K will not be considered. A child must be 4 years old on or before September 1 of that school year to participate in 4K. See AASD's School Board Policy 421 for further details on Early Admission within the Appleton Area School District.

Must children be toilet trained to participate in 4K?

Children are not required to be toilet trained to participate in 4K.

Where will 4K be offered?
The AASD will partner with local childcare, Head Start, and preschool programs to offer a variety of 4K sites. In addition, a limited number of elementary schools will be 4K school host sites. A list of the Appleton Community 4K sites is available.

Is transportation provided?
Transportation will be provided according to current AASD guidelines.

Can my child attend 4K twice (retention)?

Grade Advancement decisions are made in the context of the mission statement of the AASD and the Guiding Principles of Appleton Community 4K, and will include consideration of current research and established best practices. Children enrolled in Appleton Community 4K attend for one year. A grade level retention may be considered if a child demonstrates a lack of progress in completing the board-adopted 4K curriculum, based on observation and progress monitoring data. AASD Procedures for 4K Retention

Can my child attend 4K as a 5-year-old?
All grade entry decisions shall be made in the context of the Mission Statement of the Appleton Area School District and the Guiding Principles of Appleton Community 4K. A child who is age 5 on or before September 1 would be enrolled in 5K according to school district policy (late summer birthdays are an exception). However, there is a procedure in place to allow for requests for consideration of entry for 5 year olds into 4K. 

Curriculum and Instruction

Can a child attend two different sessions of 4K?
No, a child cannot attend both am (morning) and pm (afternoon) sessions of 4K.

What curriculum is used?

The Board of Education adopted AASD 4K curriculum is aligned to the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) and the Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten. A community site can request a variance as long as there is a demonstrated alignment to WMELS, the Common Core State Standards, and the AASD 4K curriculum.

What will a 4K student experience?
High-quality early learning experiences for young children that capitalize on their natural curiosity. 4K curriculum activities for four-year-old students will involve lots of play-based opportunities for discovery, problem-solving, and social interactions with age mates and adults. Language-rich environments will provide a solid foundation for future learning. Play is the work of early childhood; play is how much of their learning takes place.

Will my child be assessed in 4K? What will be assessed?
Yes, children participating in 4K will be assessed. Their progress in the 4K developmental areas of Approaches to Learning, Language Development and Communication Arts, Mathematical Thinking, Physical Health and Development, and Social-Emotional Development will be monitored in an ongoing manner based on the student’s performance in curriculum activities.

How is my child’s progress documented/shared?

In addition to parent-teacher conferences, a progress report will be completed and sent home at the end of each semester.

Will parent-teacher conferences be offered?
Yes, parents can expect two parent-teacher conferences per school year, similar to the K-12 conferences in the fall and spring. Parent-teacher meetings can also be scheduled at any time to discuss student progress.

What are the education requirements for 4K teachers?
Teachers of 4K students must hold a Prekindergarten or Kindergarten Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction license. Ongoing professional development and collaboration activities will support 4K teachers and bridge transitions with 4K and 5K teachers to ensure high-quality learning environments and continuous program improvement.

Will field trips be offered?
Individual sites may plan up to 3 field trips to enhance the curriculum and provide additional learning opportunities. Appleton Community 4K sites are not required to plan field trips.

Family Engagement

Will there be opportunities for family engagement?
Yes, parent engagement is a critical component of Appleton Community 4K. We value parents as a child’s first teacher and will work to build home-school-community relationships.

The AASD is responsible for a district plan for 4K parent involvement. Family engagement can take a variety of forms with opportunities provided by both sites and the district.

Serving Children with Special Education Needs

How will my child with special education needs be served?
A continuum of special education services will be available for students with disabilities. This continuum will include services such as integrated classrooms, itinerant services, speech and language, and physical and occupational therapy. A student’s IEP team will determine the services a child receives based on their individual educational needs.

Serving Children who are Dual Language Learners

Will there be support for children who are learning English as a second language (Dual Language Learners)?
AASD has some classrooms with interpreters to support children who are learning both English and a home language of Hmong or Spanish at the same time. Children are identified to attend these classrooms based on information collected from parents during enrollment.

We also offer a bilingual 4K classroom, AM and PM sessions, which include Spanish speaking and English speaking students. Our bilingual 4K classroom follows the AASD 4K schedule and 4K curriculum and provides developmentally appropriate literacy and language skills and strategies in both Spanish and English.