The lifelong habit of learning begins early in EPISD with 4 and even 3-year-olds engaged in active learning and discovery.
Enrollment for prekindergarten continues this fall throughout the District, giving EPISD’s littlest students a head start on their education.
“Their little brains are sponges at this age,” said Mindy Caldwell, facilitator for pre-kindergarten. “All pre-k children are scientists and all pre-k children have the ability to learn languages easier when they’re younger.”
EPISD’s pre-kindergarten options all feature Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) and dual language. Monolingual classes are available at certain schools but dual language is offered at all pre-k sites.
“They’re learning what I learned in first grade as prekindergarten students. Pre-k gives students the strong foundation they need to succeed academically,” Sandra Iglesias, universal pre-k teacher at Cielo Vista. “I call pre-k the fast and furious. We throw 30,000 things at them on a daily basis and they grasp the majority of it and then we just start scaffolding from there on.”
All elementary campuses with the exception of Tippin and Lundy elementary schools offer 4-year-old pre-k for students meeting the state eligibility requirements, which includes being 4-years-old by Sept. 1, 2017. Eleven EPISD elementary schools offer pre-kinder for 3-year-olds also meeting the state eligibility requirement, which includes being 3 years old by Sept. 1, 2017. Eight EPISD campuses offer pre-kindergarten for those 4 years old by Sept. 1, 2017 without any other criterion.
“We follow a STEAM curriculum that’s project base and hands on actively learning,” Caldwell said. “Our pre-k children will be prepared for kindergarten in content areas such as math, science, social studies, language arts, reading, writing and art.”
Social emotional learning and becoming familiar with a school day routine also are a big parts of the pre-kindergartener’s day.
“At this age, it’s a world about me, me, me and we’re teaching them that we are a family and we care for one another,” Iglesias said.
Recess also give students learning opportunities. Iglesias stood closely by her students watching them taking turns going up and down the slide at the playground, offering a nurturing nudge when they needed a little direction.
“They’re extremely active,” she said. “No matter how much you do active learning in classroom outside where they learn best how to share, about boundaries, how to deal with each other and interact with each other.”
Genevieve Camacho played with her 4-year-old classmates on the playground, patiently taking turns to go up and down the slide.
“My favorite part is to go outside,” she said, just leaving the playground. When asked what she was learning in class, she smiled and said: “my letters.”
Genevieve then quickly joined her classmates in line to return to the main building. They quietly went back to their classroom from the playground, already showing they mastered the routine of how to act in the hallways just three weeks into the school year.
“Parents are amazed there is no nap time,” Iglesias said. “It’s all academics, social development and they are in awe of what they’re learning.”
Classrooms throughout EPISD elementary schools still have room available for parents interested in enrolling their child in pre-kindergarten. Parents can visit the campus within their boundaries to check availability or contact Student and Parent Services to complete a transfer request to enroll in another EPISD campus.
Pre-K Eligibility For Traditional and 3-Year-Old Pre-K
According to the Texas Education Code, a child must be at least 3 or 4 years old on or before Sept. 1, and meet one of the following criteria to be eligible for enrollment in a prekindergarten class:
- Does not speak or comprehend the Englishlanguage; or
- Educationally disadvantaged (eligible to participate in the National Free or Reduced – Price Lunch Program; or
- Homeless as defined by 42 U. S. C. Section 11302; or
- The child of an active duty armed forces member or state military forces; or
- The child of an armed forces reserve member who is ordered to active duty; or
- The child of an active duty member of the armed forces, state military forces or reserve component who is injured or killed while serving on active duty; or The child is or ever has been in the conservatorship of the department of family and protective services following an adversary hearing.
Eligibility for Universal Pre-K
Students who enroll in Universal Pre-K in EPISD must be at least 4 years old on or before Sept. 1 and have a permanent address within El Paso County.
For information on enrolling on any EPISD Pre-K program call 915-230-2322.
Watch a video about EPISD Pre-K here.