Pre-K push underway for 4-year-old students

Dave Evans on the benefits of pre-kindergarten.
In East New York at Inner Force Tots, pre-kindergarten classes start in just a few days, and last -minute preparations are underway.

Dr. Gary Ellis, CEO of Inner Force, said getting the school ready is so key because early childhood education is crucial.

"We don't need TVs or video games raising our children," he said. "We need them to be in a structured environment where they can pick up the skill sets that will stay with them lifelong."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds his No. 1 campaign issue, and got $300 million in funding from Albany. This fall, that planning will become a reality. The mayor has stressed pre-k, saying that getting 4-year-olds in class now, will make a huge difference in the long run.

During the 2013-2014 school year, about 20,000 children in New York went to pre-kindergarten classes. Next week, 50,000 are estimated to attend pre-k and the mayor hopes 70,000 will attend the following school year.

Kay Mara was at Inner Force Friday, thinking about enrolling her son.

"For him to get the proper care in both education learning socially, I think it makes a child more well-rounded and more exposed," she said.

Teacher Jose Bercedoni said it is amazing to see how students change from fall to spring. "You have to watch them, you have to be there for them. By the time May and June come, you can just actually sit down and you can watch your class operate on its own," he said.

There's still some concern from the city comptroller about schools being fully ready for next week, so the big push is now underway and the mayor's grand experiment begins next week.

There are still about 3,000 pre-k spots still available across the city. Childrre who are 4 are eligible for enrollement. For more information, go to:
http://NYC.gov/prek or call 311.
Related Topics:
education kindergarten new york bill de blasio new york news East New York
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