Education Matters: PCSSD accepting applications for free pre-k program

Education

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Pulaski County Special School District is currently accepting applications for a free pre-k program. 

KARK 4’s Susanne Brunner shows you how it’s been helping families for more than a decade. 

It’s all about hands-on learning at this age. 

“I’m going to stick one in each color.”

Pre-K teacher Sherika White loves helping her group of 3-year-olds grow. 

“I just love seeing the progress of my students, knowing that they’re learning things and they’re interested in everything,” says Sherika White.

There are different stations set up across this classroom. 

Each child gets a ticket to what they want to work on, like blocks, playdough, music. 

“A lot of our learning is through play as you can see through the centers around us. And through those centers, they could bake a cake. They may pretend to be a doctor, they may build a house,” she says. 

Ms. White says it’s important to have activities designated to each age. 

What they learn in her class will be different from a class for four-year-olds. 

PCSSD’s Pre-k director Nikki Stolzer says offering this program to both age groups is crucial. 

“80-90 percent of brain development happens within the first five years of life,” says Nikki Stolzer.

That’s why it’s a priority for the district to build a foundation for kids at an early age. 

For about 15 years–they’ve offered this program for families who are at risk or have socioeconomic risk factors. 

“Research shows that if they’ve gone through Pre-K, then they’re more likely to graduate high school,” says Nikki Stolzer.

What Ms. Whiate has found is the pre-k program helps kids get comfortable when it’s time to transition into kindergarten. 

“I tell all my parents, no one can love your child as much as you do, but I try my best to come extremely close. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my babies,” she says. 

Creating a home away from home and an atmosphere where kids can have fun learning. 

Applications are being accepted for next year. 

There are 14 different schools in the district that have pre-k programs. 

Parents would have to visit those schools to sign up. 

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