AISD expands Pre-kindergarten program for 3 year olds

AISD is expanding its pre-k program for three year old students. The district is doubling its classroom space allowing for 1,000 kids to attend.

AISD officials are seeing the benefits of getting children to school at the young age of three.

"The brain is in such an incredible stage of development and so for us, it is an optimal time to get them in and discover learning and discover their potential,” said Jacquie Porter, AISD Director of Early Childhood.

Jacquie Porter, director of early childhood, walked us through one of the district's three year old classrooms. She says the curriculum is much more sophisticated than teaching colors.

"They are problem solvers. They are critical thinkers. They have great oral language development skills,” said Porter.

The district started the program in the fall of 2014 with two classrooms, serving 42 families. This fall, through donations, the district was able to outfit enough classrooms to accompany 550 students.

Thursday, AISD Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz, announced he is able to double the spots to 1,000 for the upcoming school year.

"The need is so significant we want to provide these opportunities to our students,” said Cruz.

Some of the 29 campuses are already full and have waiting lists.

Qualifications include children whose primary language is something other than English, those who are eligible for free or reduced lunch, child of current military member, a history in foster care or homeless.

"We have children in Central Texas who aren't in care anywhere. Children who are in pre-k are four times more likely to be ready for school then those who aren't,” said Porter.

Fundraising for further expansion is underway.

"Our vision is a big one to make sure that every three year old has access to this that needs it and their families want it to them. The goal would be able to expand it to meet the need,” said Michelle Wallis, AISD Director of Innovation and Development.

Registration has already open.

Two of the campuses will offer full-day programs. Those include Lucy Reed and Palm elementary schools. All others offer half day programs.