Time to Think Pre-K

The state's no-cost pre-k program is only in its first year, but educators are already thinking about next year.

Bay County schools are urging parents of three and four-year-olds to start thinking about pre-kindergarten programs.

Parents of children that will be four years old on or before September 1 are invited to take the first step toward enrolling their child in the Bay District pre-kindergarten program.

Enrollment started Wednesday with the collection of names for the fall 2006 program. There are three different types of programs offered through the county; Voluntary Pre-K, Subsidized Child Care Pre-K, and Full Pay Pre-K.

Nineteen schools will host 25 different classes locally, but spaces are limited. There are only 450 spots available for the fall, but don't worry; any child that doesn't get served this fall will be enrolled in the summer program.

Of course, the program is not required to enter kindergarten, but teachers say it can get your child off to a great start.

Pam Isenberg is the pre-k coordinator and says, "This is just a fun time for children to learn and be successful at school, have their first handshake with school."

If you have questions about enrolling your child in a pre-k program, you can call the Bay District Schools headquarters at 872-4201.

Of course, the Bay District Schools are not the only game in town. Private child care also offers pre-k programs.