When it comes to their children, school preparation is a major concern for many parents across the state of Texas, even from the earliest years of public education. Because so many families must use private daycare programs for their children during the preschool years, many count on daycare providers to help their children to develop the skills they will need to transition to school; but many would prefer to enroll their children into public preschool programs that are more directly associated with public kindergarten classes that their children will eventually enter. Public early childhood education has changed over the years, and preschool has become a key period of learning and growth for young children who will be registered in public kindergarten classes. Luckily for many Texans, in October 2019, the Texas State Legislature passed a school finance package that includes funding for full-day prekindergarten programs for eligible children.

School districts all over Texas have implemented full-day prekindergarten programs. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) oversees the process, making sure that schools have the physical space necessary to welcome preschool students to their campuses (or that childcare centers and Head Start program centers are available to offer the prekindergarten curriculum). The TEA has a set of Prekindergarten Guidelines in place which are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Kindergarten; these guidelines help teachers provide early learning experiences to prepare preschool-aged children for success in kindergarten and into their academic futures.

There are requirements for children to be eligible for public prekindergarten in Texas; the eligibility requirements have been established by the Texas Legislature. The TEA can provide a list of these requirements to anyone interested in enrolling their child(ren) into a local prekindergarten program. The basic requirements include an age cut-off (three or four years old before September 1 of the current school year*) in combination with either inability to speak and understand English, homeless, economically disadvantaged, or other criteria. The requirements must be documented accurately and clearly and must be verifiable by the local school district. (*Note: there are not always three-year-old programs available; many school districts only offer programs to students who are four.) While eligible students are not required to participate in prekindergarten programs, any who are enrolled are subject to school attendance rules.

If you are interested in preparing your young child for kindergarten and beyond, tutoring is an option to consider. Tutoring provides many benefits for students, helping them to become more psycho-socially and academically prepared to participate in school. Tots ‘N Tutors is a professional mobile and virtual tutoring company that offers support to students beginning in prekindergarten and continuing through 12th grade and college. Meeting with students individually or in small groups, the learning guides of Tots ‘N Tutors help even the youngest students to become willing participants in their education and become lifelong learners. Contact Tots ‘N Tutors today to talk about the in-person and virtual means and methods available for helping your child to be more prepared to learn.

Written by Erika Mehlhaff