HISD Expands Pre-Kindergarten

The Houston School District's full-day Pre-Kindergarten program is getting a big financial shot in the arm, in the form of a $5.2 million grant from the Texas Education Agency. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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HISD is in its second full year of full-day Pre-K classes, and the TEA grant will allow the district to continue the classes for nearly 3,400 children in 154 classrooms at 70 elementary schools.ξ Early Childhood Education Director Mary Jane Gomez says the grant will pay half the payroll costs for the teachers in the program. Gomez says full-day Pre-K is an investment in the childrens' futures.

"When you have a full day program, you are able to expand on concepts, carry them through for the afternoon, get the children to follow through a whole day of math if we're doing math, and we can link it to the calendar, we can link it to the math lesson, we can link it to the math work stations, so in your cognitive development with your children they can stick with something longer than in a short period of three hours."

Gomez says full-day Pre-K also allows teachers to develop longer lessons with more depth, and it allows children to spend a full day learning, instead of spending half their day at home or in day care.ξ The bottom line is that they're much more prepared for first grade when that time comes. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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