Aldine educators say that three-year-olds can handle school. They aren’t the only ones lauding the benefits of prekindergarten. Studies show that early intervention is critical to children’s success.
The District’s current prekindergarten program serves eligible four-year-old students. That may change in the future. Aldine ISD is starting to look at offering prekindergarten (PreK or PK) to children who are three (3) years old.
Currently, the District is accepting applications to enroll eligible three-year-old students into a pilot program. As space is limited, seats will be allocated on a “first come, first served” basis.
The pilot program kick-off or “first day of school” for the youngsters is October 15.
The pilot program, dubbed 3-PK, for younger students is starting at three schools. The initial application period has already started at one campus. To be eligible, students would need to meet the criteria for the District’s prekindergarten programs, which are available for students who come from an economically disadvantaged household, have limited English proficiency, are homeless, have a parent in the military or are in foster care.
Additionally, children must be three (3) years old on or before September 1 of the current school year. They must live in Aldine ISD — no waivers will be allowed. The three-year-olds must also be potty trained. The District will not provide bus transportation. Parents will be responsible for getting their children to and from school.
Getting kids in at the age of three gives them a good foundation of learning before they get to third grade. That is when they’re really starting to use that academic language. Research shows that kids from homes that don’t speak English or are low income need that extra leg up. It prepares them to be on the same level as their classmates once they enter kindergarten.
The 3-PK curriculum will include hands-on activities as well as interactive play, literacy development, and early math skills. This sets the stage for strong learning as students move through the upper-grade levels.
The program will focus on developing the whole child (e.g. cognitive, social, emotional, personal aspects). It will also acclimate students to the rules and routines of a classroom.
There are still many questions District leaders are addressing the pilot plan. However, they are already organizing staff and training.
“We’re going to be talking to families,” said Dr. Sara Ptomey, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “We want to make sure they have the services they need to make this a successful year.”
The pilot program will vary at each of the campuses taking part. For example at Keeble EC/PK/K School, students will be in a mixed classroom. This means their peers will include four-year-olds currently in a Montessori classroom. One will be a bilingual class, while another will be an all-English classroom.
The programs at Griggs and Stovall EC/PK/K Schools will offer two all-English classrooms and two Spanish classrooms. They will not include older students. Teachers would only work with three-year-olds.
Classes for three-year-olds will run from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students will receive two free meals — breakfast and lunch. However, schools still need to collect income data.
Assistant Superintendents Pat Leon-Wade, Dr. Janet Ray and Dr. Christina Gómez, who oversee the EC/PK campuses, all stated that there is interest in the community to offer a program for three-year-olds. District leaders will monitor interest from families, student progress and the financial viability. These factors will help determine if AISD will expand its PK program, which now serves nearly 4,000 4-year-olds.
Griggs EC/PK/K School
801 Regional Park Dr.
Houston, TX 77060
Phone: (281) 985-3760
Keeble EC/PK/K School
203 West Gulfbank Road
Houston, TX 77037-2322
Phone: (281) 878-6860
Stovall EC/PK/K School
Houston, TX 77088-4599
Phone: (281) 591-8500
Note: The District is looking into offering the pilot program at a campus on the east side of the District.
Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney hopes the pilot is successful with parents. She is a strong supporter of prekindergarten for three-year-old children.
“We know we have youngsters who start off with a disadvantage,” said Goffney. “We know they are out there and we want to ensure that we are giving them a leg up. We want to ensure we are helping them develop the skills early on. We want to have them reading at third–grade level before they enter third grade. We want them to be successful in school and develop the skills critical to their future success. I hope that families take advantage of this opportunity.”
Director of Written Communication & Spanish Media
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