Early Childhood Education



The Office of Early Childhood provides an inclusive, high quality early childhood education for preschool and kindergarten aged children who reside in the City of Camden.

Early childhood is a crucial time in development that requires positive experiences from which children can develop and grow. We will:
  • Provide a safe and nurturing environment where children will play, explore, experiment, and develop a lifelong joy for learning;
  • Use developmentally-appropriate practice and proven research to guide instruction;
  • Implement a research-based curriculum with an aligned assessment system;
  • Intentionally plan lessons, activities, and experiences that promote high expectations, exceed standards, and build a strong academic and social-emotional foundation;
  • Promote acceptance and understanding of our unique and special attributes;
  • Provide an inclusive program with appropriate supports and individualized plans as needed for children with special needs or dual language learners;
  • Develop creative thinkers and problem solvers who make good choices and develop positive self esteem;
  • Collaborate and partner with families, health service providers, and community stakeholders;
  • Provide ongoing, comprehensive professional development to early childhood professionals who educate and support our children and families.

Program Description & Registration

The Camden City School District's Early Childhood Education Program offers a nurturing environment for three and four-year-old children. We offer a full day program that is open year-round. The class size consists of 15 children, one certified teacher, and one paraprofessional.

The program provides a smooth transition from home to preschool and preschool to kindergarten. A developmentally-appropriate curriculum is the basis of instruction throughout the district. The classroom provides a supportive and caring environment where children can develop a sense of trust and belonging. Children's culture, diversity, and individual differences are recognized and respected. Parent concerns regarding children's developmental progress are addressed and evaluated as necessary. Our goal is for our children to develop a love for learning and a positive attitude towards school. The Camden City School District works hand-in-hand with the New Jersey Department of Education's Division of Early Childhood Education.

Registration Requirements:

  1. Age - Child must be three (3) years old for preschool or five (5) years old for kindergarten on or before October 1. (BIRTH CERTIFICATE IS REQUIRED)

  2. Immunization - Current immunization (medical) records

  3. Proof of Residency - Proof of Camden City residency (there is no cost to attend Camden City Preschools)

  4. Physical Examination - Physical examination with lead test results


Our classrooms follow the Creative Curriculum Approach. Our teachers document observations and the assessment of our children using the Teaching Strategies Gold assessment system. In a nutshell, this approach is "a comprehensive Early Childhood educational system that has been shown to promote the cognitive, language, social/emotional, and physical development of young children" (quoted from HERE). Parental involvement is encouraged in every classroom and is an online component with Creative Curriculum/Teaching Strategies Gold! Using Parents Central, families can view children's photographs, artwork, and portfolios, add their own observations and photographs from home, and view the teacher's weekly planning form online! The Creative Curriculum Approach is one of the New Jersey Department of Education - Division of Early Childhood Education's five recommended curricula. The Teaching Strategies Gold objectives are aligned to the New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards as well as the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards.


We believe that a high-quality preschool program should be provided to all children, including those with special needs. We also believe that children with special needs are entitled to be educated in the least-restrictive environment. For that reason, children with special needs who are placed in inclusive settings get the best of both worlds. In addition to being exposed to positive social interactions with typically-developing children, the supports and services, which are outlined in the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP), are carried out in the child's natural environment - the classroom. The children are able to work toward reaching their goals within the regular routines and activities of the classroom. Teachers modify and adapt the environment, curriculum and materials to meet the needs of the children so that they are not only exposed to classroom experiences, but they are successful in their participation. We pride ourselves on the wonderful preschool experience provided to all of the children in our program.
To contact Special Services directly, please click HERE.
If you are concerned that your preschool child is developing or learning differently, you can call 856-966-2345 to request an evaluation for preschool special education and related services.

Supports for Dual Language Learners

Educational Program Specialists work with individual teachers to develop weekly planning forms (lesson plans) that show Dual Language Learner (DLL) strategies and activities to scaffold DLL's learning of English and the home language. We model small group lessons using ELL strategies such as Picture Support Systems (Survival Phrases), props, acting out, gestures, and finger plays. We stress the importance of choosing units of study that are relevant to the children's prior knowledge and support the DLL activities through read-alouds, songs, pictures, and repetition. Our classrooms are equipped with literacy materials in many languages, not just English. We provide district-wide professional development in techniques, strategies, and materials needed for creating a language-rich environment that facilitates the support of the child's home language and development of English in their natural preschool environment. District staff and parent/community volunteers provide home language translation, explain cultural beliefs to program staff, and assist with outreach to families as needed.

The Role of the Educational Program Specialist

The New Jersey Department of Education defines the Educational Program Specialists as "specialized teachers who provide and maintain high levels of quality by helping and supporting preschool teachers. Their primary role is to visit classrooms and coach teachers using reflective practice to improve instruction." (Quoted from NJDOE HERE) The Educational Program Specialists meet with preschool teachers and paraprofessionals to coach/mentor them in self-reflection and improving their teaching practice, helping them strive to be the best teachers they can be! They also administer assessments like ECERS-R (classroom assessment), PCMI (math), and SELA (literacy) to help classrooms build upon their quality and give children the safest, most fun, and educational experience possible.

The Role of the Preschool Intervention and Referral Team (PIRT)

The Preschool Intervention and Referral Team (P.I.R.T.) is a team of professionals who provide support to the development of preschool-aged children in their school or childcare settings. Our mission is to proactively improve the social-emotional growth and development of our children in a diverse setting through high-quality age-appropriate interactions by empowering and educating families, teachers, staff, and administrators. Our members include Early Childhood Special Educators, Social Workers, a School Psychologist, Speech Therapists, and Early Intervention Specialists.
P.I.R.T. assists teachers in developing their skills in Positive Behavior Support (PBS). "PBS is for children who persist in challenging behavior and do not respond to general child guidance procedures. PBS is an approach to developing effective and individualized interventions for children with severe challenging behavior. PBS was developed both from the science of applied behavior analysis and the values of child-centered approaches to learning. In PBS, interventions are designed based on understanding the purpose of the challenging behavior. The positive strategies used to change behavior include teaching new skills, preventing the occurrence of challenging behavior, and supporting the child in achieving meaningful, long-term outcomes." (quoted from HERE)

The Role of the Preschool Social Workers

The Preschool Social Workers support and empower parents and families, as well as foster relationships between the home, school, and community. They reach out to families, assess individual/family needs, inform families of community resources, and coordinate available services to improve the educational and social quality of children and their families. The Preschool Social Workers collaborate with the CPIS, P.I.R.T., teachers, other school staff, and community agencies. They also assist with recruitment, enrollment, and the transition process. Workshops are provided throughout the school year to educate parents, encourage parent involvement, and strengthen families.

The Role of Community & Parent Involvement Specialists (CPIS)

The Community & Parent Involvement Specialist (CPIS) oversees the school district's family services for the Early Childhood Department. The CPIS collaborates and coordinates work with Private Child Care Providers and Family Workers, Preschool Social Workers, local and state agencies, and other community resources in developing and maintaining a partnership to improve the overall well-being of children and families. Some of the responsibilities of the CPIS are to assist families in placing their child(ren) in the Early Childhood program, monitor the recruitment, enrollment, and transition process, organize family involvement activities within the community, coordinate the community needs assessment, and chair the Early Childhood Education Advisory Council.

Early Childhood Times: Camden's Early Childhood Newsletter

Camden City's Office of Early Childhood creates a newsletter about six times over the course of the school year. It is delivered via E-mail and as a hard copy to all of our associated childcare centers and in-district schools and classrooms. Teachers, Educational Program Specialists, paraprofessionals, and other people in the Early Childhood field contribute articles and share pictures of all things related to Early Childhood and Camden.

Click on the link below to download an Adobe PDF version of the Early Childhood Times newsletter for Free!

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Ms. Markeeta Nesmith
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38303
Email: [email protected]
Early Childhood Lead Educators
Ms. Barbara Alley Capra
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38339
Email: [email protected]


Ms. Nichole DeSesso 
(856) 966-2000, Ext: 38342
Email: [email protected]
Account Manager
Ms. Chinua Jones
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 65487
Email: [email protected]
Office Staff
Ms. Brenda Serrano, Early Childhood Coordinator 
(856) 966-2000, Ext: 38327
Email: [email protected]

Maritza Acevedo, Clerk IIB

Miosotiz Rodriguez, Clerk III / Bilingual                              

Social Workers
Ms. Patricia Nelson
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38305
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Tracy Olivera-Lynch
(856) 966-4171, Ext. 14123
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Kay Soltero
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38305
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Rosita Vargas-Corbin
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38305
Email: [email protected]
Community and Parent Involvement Specialist
Ms. Tanya Gillespie-Lambert
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38321
Email: [email protected]

Preschool Educational Program Specialists                ​

Ms. Carmen Davis 
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38330
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Andrea Delecce
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38306
Email: [email protected]

Ms. Nicole Gorham
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Hoa Ly
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38316
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Brooklyn C. Rogers
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38322
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Elizabeth Smelson
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Lavinia Taylor
(856) 966-2000, Ext. 38328
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Linda Tomaszewski
Email: [email protected]

Preschool Intervention and Referral Team (P.I.R.T.)

Phone: (856) 966-4171
Mr. Eric Burrell
Ms. Susan Curry 
Ms. Shana Herman
Ms. Alison Marchesano
Email: [email protected]
Mr. Rashid Mason
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Ursala Moss
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Belinda Ortiz
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Perenda Satterfield
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Cheryl Scott
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Melissa Tamagno
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Tia Taylor
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Donielle Wesley-Wallace
Email: [email protected]

Kindergarten Educational Program Specialist

Ms. Audrey DiCianno
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Susan Harper
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Janyl Tucker
Email: [email protected]

Kindergarten Intervention and Referral Team

Ms. Shai Dunham
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Melissa Laster
Email: [email protected]

Photos From Around the District

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