PREMONT, Texas — Next school year, the Premont ISD will add two new early childhood programs, thanks to two TEA grants.
The programs will be ‘Baby University’ and the Premont Montessori Academy, and both will be free.
‘Baby University’ will be a daycare and educational program that will feed into the Pre-K program.
“The infants and toddlers come into school at an earlier age, so they can make the transition to our Pre-K 3-4 program,” said Kristina Gonzalez, the Premont ISD Assistant Superintendent.
Gonzalez said there is only one other daycare option for parents in Premont.
The district has not yet decided how young ‘Baby University’ will allow enrollment from, but it will provide another option for parents in Premont.
“This will give them the opportunity to have free childcare, and to get an early start to education, which is one of our main goals, to have students in schools earlier,” Gonzalez said.
Byllie Benavides, the early childhood coordinator at Premont ISD, echoed Gonzalez’s sentiment, adding that an early start to education will help students as they get older.
“Our philosophy and our thought has always been the earlier we get them in school, the earlier we educate them, the more successful they’ll be in life,” Benavides said. “So, we’re hoping we get them early from cradle, and we take them all the way to a career.”
The Premont Montessori Academy will be a K-5 program, teaching with the Montessori Method, which provides more hands-on learning for the children.
“It’s going to provide hands-on learning. The teacher is serving as a guide, and following the students as they are fulfilling appropriate level lessons,” said Kristina Lopez, the Premont ISD Montessori director.
The Montessori Academy will have multi-age classrooms, and Lopez hopes the learning style will help students who struggle in traditional learning, while still learning the same curriculum as students in the Premont Collegiate Academy.
“If they’re not successful in tradition, maybe they can transition and they’ll be successful in the Montessori,” Lopez said. “We’re just giving them more opportunities.”
Parents have shown they are in favor of the programs. Monyca Garcia’s son is in Pre-K, and is signed up for the Montessori Academy for next year.
“My son typically learns by hand-on experiences, so this would be the best way for him to learn new things, and expand his critical thinking,” she said. “I know my son would love this program.”
The Montessori Academy will only be available for Kindergarten in the 2022-23 school year, but more grades will be added until it is K-5.
Offering a Montessori Academy is a point of pride for Premont ISD, as the type of learning is not typical for small school districts. The closest Montessori Academy is in Corpus Christi.
“We are changing the way we do school,” said Premont Collegiate Academy Principal Joel Treviño. “I firmly believe that students at a rural district, such as Premont, deserve the same opportunities that a student in Dallas or Houston would get.”
Sign-ups for the program are open, and can be found on the Premont ISD website.