EPISD offers all-day Pre-K for 4-year-olds at all elementary campuses, slots still available
EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT Aug. 3, 2021 -- EPISD prekindergarten students are busy learning how to navigate school for the first time. At Mesita ECDC, they sit crisscross applesauce while their teachers read to them and give them lessons on letters. It’s only the first week and they’ve already made friends, learned a few educational songs and dances.
These 4-year-olds are attending all-day Pre-K, which is now offered at 100 percent of EPISD elementary campuses as required by House Bill 3. The District also offers half-day Pre-K for qualifying 3-year-olds and a limited number of seats for universal Pre-K for 4-year-olds not qualifying based on federal guidelines. Slots are still available.
“Full-day Pre-K gives our 4-year-olds an opportunity to grow socially and emotionally. They learn foundational skills that prepare them for kinder and years beyond,” said Laila Ferris, interim Chief of Languages and Learning. “We have seen 4-year-old pre-kinder students do extremely well in the full-day setting. They have to adjust in the beginning, but they become very successful in all aspects of the program.”
Among the benefits of prekindergarten:
- Learning and developing social emotional skills
- Learning language skills that include listening and speaking
- Exploring math skills including number knowledge, counting and number comparisons
- Learning scientific processes including inquiry, analyzing and making informed decisions.
“PreK sets the foundation for language, reasoning, problem-solving, social skills and emotional health,” said Olivia Centero, prek-2 facilitator for early childhood education. “It provides the foundation for school success.”
Little Emma Madrid was among the new 4-year-olds at General MacArthur PK-8 starting full-day school for the first time. She was a bit shy but ready for school.
“She’s pretty smart and she’s been saying she wants to go to school because her older sister is in third grade here,” said mom Nohemi Madrid. “I didn’t want to take that away from her. I know it prepares them and makes them more ready for school. I went to Pre-K, and I feel it definitely helped me.”
MacArthur Pre-K dad Jorge Orona hopes his son Mateo make friends and strengthen his language skills.
“He wanted to come,” Orona said. “I hope he can learn more with other children, so he won’t be as nervous. He also needs to practice his English because no one in the house speaks English.”
Pre-K slots are still available including seats for the universal Pre-K program for non-qualifying students. Parents of non-qualifying students can follow the registration process and will be notified if their child will be enrolled. All campuses may have the opportunity to offer a certain percentage of seats to non-qualifying students based upon availability and a first come, first served basis. Parents of non-qualifying students may also request transfers to other campuses, based upon availability.
For information on Pre-K registration, go to episd.org/prek.
Story by Reneé de Santos
Photos by Leonel Monroy Jr.