Meridian Public School District has begun its Pre-Kindergarten registration. There are 220 openings for the upcoming school year. The registration period will end on Mar. 30.
To register your child for Pre-K only requires filling out a form, but the process continues from there. Because there is a limited amount of space, those students who need the greatest help to prepare for kindergarten the following year are enrolled first.
That means there is a process that starts after you indicate you're interested.
"Our teachers will then call and set up interviews," said Kelli Speed, director of federal programs. "And during the month of April, they will come in and we will do a screening. Our program is filled based on academic need, and it's a heavily language-based program. So we are looking for children who are struggling with language, and those are the children we place first."
There are a total of 11 different Pre-K classrooms spread throughout the district.
"Each school has at least one classroom," Speed said. "Several of them have two. And then we have three off-site, in which we are partnered with the Meridian Housing Authority."
Pre-K is school in the sense that students both learn and are tested on their progress.
"We do three-times-a-year assessments. One at the beginning of the year, middle, and the end," said Jamie Manning, Pre-K teacher at Carousel Place. "We test their vocabulary; we test alliteration, which is beginning sounds, and we test rhyming words. And you can see great growth all throughout the year."
Manning also said that Pre-K programs give students the foundation they need for academic success.
"They absolutely should send their child to Pre-K," said Manning. "Again, it gives them a great foundation to build upon; it gets them ready for kindergarten. They're so much stronger academically, and they're excited about learning. This is a fun environment; it's a safe environment, so it really sets them out on a great path."