Pre-K Signup

By: April Douglas
By: April Douglas

Tonya Faught is hoping to have her four-year-old enrolled in "big boy school " this fall.

Tonya says, "He needs to start learning, and hopefully give him a head start."

Tonya is one of the 150,000 parents expected to sign up for Florida's first free pre-kindergarten program. In Leon and Gadsden Counties, hundreds of parents have tossed their names in the mix. Compare that with just 50 providers.

Jean Smith with the Early Learning Coalition says with that many parents and so few providers, it could create chaos.

Jean says, "As many as 500 parents have certificate of eligibility. Now they start looking for a program. It is going to be a problem finding enough providers."

There's also the class size amendment to consider. Four schools in Leon County have available space: Canopy Oaks, Woodville and Chaires Elementary School, along with early childhood programs, yet getting to the free pre-k program poses another stumbling block.

Martha Fletcher says, "Of coarse, that means provide transportation for three hours and then pick them back up."

Despite the hurdles, educators agree and have the research to show pre-k boost academic achievement, which is exactly what Tonya hopes happens for her four-year-old.

The registration round-up continues Thursday morning 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at Chaires Elementary School in Leon County.


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