San Benito now offering full day pre-kindergarten

SAN BENITO — Changes are in store for the city’s youngest students.

This school year, parents are going to see new opportunities in several San Benito elementary schools’ pre-kindergarten enrollment and day schedules.

Sullivan, Fred Booth, Landrum, Frank Roberts, Rangerville, La Paloma and La Encantada elementary schools are campuses that previously held half day pre-K and half day Head Start with a separate curriculum.

Now, for the first time, all of the elementary campuses will provide a full day of instruction from San Benito CISD teachers.

It’s something other districts have had, but now San Benito is offering it, too.

The school district made this decision after “recognizing more students were Kinder ready” when they completed its “full-day pre-K program compared to the half day pre-K and half day Head Start.”

Additionally, three pre-K classrooms will be open for enrollment for qualifying 3-year-old students. One full day pre-K classroom will be open for registration at Fred Booth, Frank Roberts and Rangerville elementary schools.

According to the Texas Education Agency, a school district may offer prekindergarten classes if the district identifies 15 or more eligible children who are at least 3 years of age.

Research shows that pre-kindergarten has several benefits.

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, pre-kindergarten students become “familiar with books, new words, and ways to use language, numbers and problem solving strategies.” Additionally, they learn social skills by learning how to pay attention in class and interaction with other students.

Studies have found pre-K makes a positive difference in a child’s ability to be successful in kindergarten and later in life. And research shows students who participate in quality pre-K have improved learning, are more likely to graduate high school and have higher income as adults.

Students will receive a full day of education. Their schedule will consist of spending half of the day in the classroom and the other half of the day in a Head Start classroom.

San Benito “identified the need for early child instruction” and will continue to maintain a partnership with Neighbors in Need of Services Inc. The Head Start will work with 3-year-old pre-K students instead of 4-year-olds.”

There are a limited number of spots available. Superintendent Dr. Nate Carman “encourages parents to visit the appropriate elementary on August 7.”

To be eligible for enrollment in a pre-kindergarten class

• A child must be at least 3 years of age.

• Is unable to speak and comprehend the English language; Or is educationally disadvantaged (which means a student eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program)

• Or is homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 1143a, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child’s guardian or other person having lawful control of the child