AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - By the 2022 school year, Texas public pre-kindergarten programs will be required to be full day.
“Research show that this is the prime time. By age five, 95 percent of the brain is developed so these early years are incredibly important and can impact the rest of their life. So having them for a full day really give us time to foster that learning,” said Brittany Hinz, ealry childhood eductaion coordinator for AISD.
AISD is currently in the transition of extending their pre-kindergarten classrooms. This year 10 classes have been move to full day, while 17 are still in the planning process of finding a space to house the classes.
“They have a curriculum just like our kindergarten through twelfth grade do and it’s very authentic. Even though kids are exploring and using materials and doing things in a fun way, they’re still learning and our teachers are still very purposeful in the way they deliver that instruction and facilitate with the kids,” said Hinz.
Although the process of transition to full day is bringing complications for AISD, early childhood education experts say it will be worth it.
“To have those full day kiddos, they get both sides, the afternoon and morning time so it’s just more time for instruction and more time for relationship,” said Patricia Keith, director of Amarillo College Child Lab School.
With children expected to know more earlier on, a program like this could shape a child's life.
“Being in a preschool program early on, an early education program, it helps to build that foundation under a child that they will be a launching point for the rest of their lives. So it honestly has a huge, I guess, influence in the future success of a person,” said Keith.
Children are accepted into the AISD pre-kindergarten program based on certain criteria such as finances, language barriers and parents serving in the military.