First Steps Program

Children create meaning and construct knowledge in an engaging learning environment that sparks their sense of curiosity and discovery. Children in University School of Milwaukee's First Steps program have the opportunity to learn and grow individually while exploring cooperative play and interaction with peers. First Steps provides developmentally appropriate experiences, care, and instruction to children and links families to the larger USM school community.

Within the First Steps environment, children learn using materials that are specifically selected for intentional instruction that inspires creativity and deepens insight and wonder. Faculty observe, inquire, and adapt teaching methods to strengthen a child’s overall development. Children, families, and teachers collaborate to embark on these first steps of education together.

Children thrive from the comfort of routine while awakening their natural curiosity as they explore and discover within their environment. Our knowledgeable and passionate faculty engage children in experiences that allow them to grow into learners, leaders, and citizens who will make a positive difference in our school community.

Please note that the First Steps program is subject to availability in prekindergarten classrooms. If the prekindergarten grade is at capacity, the First Steps program cannot be offered. Please contact the Enrollment Management office to inquire about the program and availability.

Participation Requirements

  • Open to children who reach age 3 between the start of the school year and Dec. 31 of that year.
  • Children who turn 3 in Sept. or Oct. shortly after the start of the school year may be considered to join First Steps on the first day of school, based on teacher recommendation.
  • Children must be able to use the restroom without the use of pull-ups.
  • Children may be assigned to a classroom with children who are enrolled in the prekindergarten program.
  • Faculty work with families and the Enrollment Management office to determine appropriate classroom placements and start dates for enrolled children.
  • First Steps students will participate in the full-year prekindergarten program, which offers a full-day program option, during the following school year.

Program Outcomes

  • Strengthen language skills
  • Negotiate new social situations
  • Refine gross-motor skills
  • Develop fine-motor skills
  • Encourage independence
  • Promote self-help skills