CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Corpus Christi Independent School District opened some of its pre-K doors to younger students hoping they’ll be better prepared for kindergarten.
In Jan., Metro Elementary School of Design and Zavala Elementary welcomed 3-year- old students for the first time.
“Research has shown that 90 percent of the brain is developed by the age of five,” Justin Milner, the principal of Metro said. “So if we can really hound in on, you know 3-year-old, 4-year-olds getting them into a pre-K program, it’s really going to show benefit to all of our students.”
“They’ve been learning their numbers, their alphabets,” a substitute, Annette Coronado, said about students getting a jumpstart.
“We want to get these students in here early, get them with their literacy skills, their vocabulary, <and> get their social interactions together,” Milner said.
Rose Shaw Elementary, Zavala elementary, Menger Elementary and The Early Child Development Center also started pre-K 3 programs.
“There is a tremendous demand for pre-K 3 programs in CCISD,” Milner said. “In fact, when the three programs opened a Zavala, us and Rose Shaw, we filled in within days.”
Metro has up to 22 students in their pre-K 3 class.
“We’re teaching them rhyming words,” Paula Trevino, a paraprofessional working with the 3-year-olds at Metro, said.
Trevino pointed at two cards sitting at a table surrounded by students.
“Cap and Bat,” she said. “Do they rhyme?”
“Yes,” a couple of students replied.
All pre-K students can attend for free if they meet certain requirements.
Some qualifications include if the child is unable to speak and understand English, is a foster child or if their parents are military or first responders.
But, if they don’t qualify, there is a tuition fee.
“A Little less than $500 a month in order to get into the program if you had to do the tuition based,” Milner said.
The pre-K 3 at Metro runs the full school day.
Milner said his campus is a school choice and applications are open for the 2023-2024 school year for anyone in the district.
But other campuses haven’t started yet, like Travis Elementary, which will start its pre-K 3 program in the fall.
“When you look at research from last year 58 percent of students that went into the pre-K program at CCISD were kindergarten ready and beyond,” Milner said.