There are 52,300 children in Harris County that qualify to enroll in prekindergarten. But only 38,200 are taking advantage of the opportunity. That means that there are more than 14,000 not receiving a strong start to their education.
Parents might think that early education is not important. The experts argue it is vital. They say waiting too long to enroll in school could mean kids are starting their education with a disadvantage.
According to Dr. Stephen Klineberg, professor of sociology at Rice University and a demographics expert, states that early education matters enormously. It matters for the kind of future individuals will have and the kind of future we as a community will have.
“Today the source of wealth is knowledge,” said Klineberg. “And one of those critical parts of making that transition successfully is making those investments in early childhood for kids who otherwise would fall through the cracks and not be ready when kindergarten comes to acquire the skills that are so critical to have any level of success in the new economy of the 21st century.”
One of the truths in education is third grade reading. If a student is not reading at third grade level in third grade he or she is four times more likely to drop out of high school. The single most powerful predictor whether a student can read at third grade level is if he or she started kindergarten ready to learn to read.
Scott McClelland, president of HEB, supports early education. He is one of more than 65 board members of a community coalition focused on achieving third grade literacy.
“It should not matter where your zip code is,” said McClelland. “Every kid in our state deserves a good education.”
“The future is open,” added Klineberg. “The future depends on the collective decisions that each of us makes.”
The District offers prekindergarten to eligible 4-year-olds at eight campuses. While a key focus is on oral language development skills, educators also focus on social skills and overall health. (Click here to read more about the award-winning program.)
The District invites all families with children of all abilities from ages 0-5 years old to attend the Aldine Early Education Festival happening on Saturday, July 21 at Aldine High School (11101 Airline Drive • Houston, TX 77037) 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Fun for the Entire Family
Sponsors & Partners
Staff and volunteers from each AISD early childhood/prekindergarten school will be present to answer questions. They will also enroll students, but parents will need to bring the child’s birth certificate and immunization record with them along with proof of residency (e.g. utility bill, cable bill, copy of lease). (Click here to read more about eligibility requirements to enroll.)
Families can also expect to see many community partners on hand at booths to inform parents of their services and options.
Superintendent Dr. LaTonya Goffney hopes to see many families at the event.
“Early education is essential for the growth of our young children,” said Goffney. “It’s important that we (Aldine ISD) get these youngsters as early as we can. We have to make parents aware that the schools are there for them. They just need to take advantage of them.
“I encourage you to attend the festival. Help us give our kids a strong start to their education and their future.”
For more information, visit PreKHouston.org (click here).
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