FRESNO, Calif (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified is making a new push to boost enrollment in Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) programs at their schools.
District officials are hoping to enroll many more kids so they can benefit from the preschool program.
Young children in Roeding Elementary School's Pre-K program laugh and play with the music. Teacher Teri Green loves working with the children, but hopes her class gets about five more students. "We have two pre-schools here and we're hoping that they both fill up."
Fresno Unified School District has expanded it's Pre-K program dramatically over the last year. The early learning classes are now offered at 58 sites throughout the city. Still, administrators are looking to boost numbers. Over the weekend the district sent out an automated call to parents encouraging them to sign up for Pre-K.
"Our district has made a commitment that early learning is important to success of the children. So, whether they income qualify or they don't it is absolutely free to all parents of four-year olds," said Wilma Hashimoto, Asst. Superintendent, FUSD Early Learning.
District officials hope to fill up the remaining 300 open spots they have for Pre-K. Afternoon sessions which run from 11:30 to 2:30 have the most room. Administrators and teachers stress, Pre-K isn't just a daycare, it's essential for preparing children for kindergarten.
At Hamilton Elementary, Pre-K teacher Debbie Sharp holds free workshops for parents about reading and behavior. "My goal is to give the parents the tools they need to be a successful teacher at home with their child."
"I mean you can teach them whatever you can teach them, but they go to school and learn how to behave with other kids and phonetics and all kinds of important things," said Elizabeth Kilgore, parent.
There are dozens of schools that have openings for Pre-K. Officials also have changed the age requirements. Students used to have to turn four-years-old by September 2nd to be eligible to enroll, but now that date has been pushed to December 2nd.