Local pre-schools taking registrations for next year

Published 7:23 am Monday, March 15, 2010

A big decision awaits many area 3-year-olds and their families.

Nine Austin area pre-schools are now taking registrations for next school year.

“The primary focus of pre-school is to get students ready for kindergarten,” said Amy Baskin, director of community education and communications for Austin Public Schools.

Each local school is licensed and works with the United Way and AMCAT to break down financial and transportation barriers for families in efforts to make early childhood education available to all.

“Investing in children at an early age reduces costs to communities in the future and results in higher educational levels,” Baskin explained.

Jean McDermott, principal at Woodson Kindergarten Center, said it helps ease the entrance to kindergarten if students have already worked a bit on their socialization and fine motor skills.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to go to pre-school,” she said. “The best thing is always for parents to read to their children, and to talk about the reading afterwards.”

Parents who decide not to send their kids to pre-school can prepare their children for kindergarten by giving them opportunities to socialize with other children outside of their family, and to spend time in groups outside of their family, such as in daycare.

“Pre-school does a nice job of teaching kids how to spend time away from home, but parents can find ways to have their children practice this even if they don’t choose pre-school,” McDermott said.

For those that do choose pre-school, the best way to select one is to visit, Baskin said.

Austin’s community education will offer pre-school for 160 children next school year. There are also area religious-based pre-schools, and a free Head Start program for students whose parents meet certain income requirements.

Many area schools offer interpreters and bilingual support as well.

“It just depends on what fits your family,” Baskin said.”

Area pre-schools

Apple Lane

2000 First Ave. NW, 433-0070

Community Learning Center

912 First Ave. NE, 460-1701

Congregational

1910 Third Ave. NW, 433-2301

Discovery Preschool

1802 Second Ave. SW, 437-2875

Head Start

301 N. Main St.

Lower Level

433-5889 ext. 3

Holy Cross

300 16th St. NE, 433-7844

Little Shamrocks

511 Fourth Ave. NW, 433-8859

Wee Learning Center

301 First Ave. NW, 433-6463

YMCA

704 First Drive NW, 433-1804