For some of these 3 and 4 year olds...walking into Southwind High School for pre-k registration is their first experience with school.
For others...it may be another year before they can enter pre-k, after the school district announced an 8-million budget gap.
Grandmother Frances Lawson says pre-k makes a difference.
"The one who's been in pre-k can read and knows his numbers and colors, he's really further advanced than the kids who are not in pre-k," Lawson said.
Tondia Williams says she's already thinking about the social aspect of pre-k for her 18-month old son Walter.
"I feel like the interaction with the other children will help him, social skills, sharing and just being a kids," Williams said.
There are several studies showing the difference in pre-k including vocabulary, literacy and comprehension, but even with the information the district has no choice but to cut.
"We probably have about 400 children in our unified district that would be eligible for the pre-k program having to take away or not provide that opportunity for 900 is sad," Dr. Deanna McClendon said.
Dr. McCclendon says she knows the gains in skill pre-k offers to incoming students. She also knows the difference between a child offered pre-k and those who are not prepared early.
"By placing students in pre-k, by the time they get to the third grade, hey actually have continued developing the skills necessary to go in and be successful in grades 3-12," McClendon said.
Dr. McClendon offers this advice for parents who don't get the chance to enroll their students in pre-k.
"Make sure you are reading to that child for 20-30 minutes a day, if you have not signed up for books from birth, sign up for books from birth and read to that child every day for 30 minutes," McClendon said.
It's this little bit of time to help give these little faces a jump on education.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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