Pro: Preschool classes level playing field for children entering kindergarten
Preschools provide children a solid educational foundation, some people say.
With public schools' curricula getting more difficult each year, preschool offers that necessary boost to get children ready, said Cassie Mangum, a teacher at Goliad's It's A Small World Nursery School.
"It can be very hard to reach those requirements when you're coming from no background, or from home," said Mangum, a former public school teacher.
Early education also sets the groundwork for social skills, she said, explaining children learn how to share, make friends, deal with emotions and even to sit still for lessons.
While some students get that early enrichment from the home, others benefit from pre-kindergarten classes, said Diane Boyett, communications specialist with the Victoria school district. She agreed such programs can offer a leg up and make sure children are on a more level playing field when entering kindergarten.
Despite state funding cuts to early childhood programs - the state will pay for half-day pre-kindergarten for qualifying students, but not full-day - Boyett said the school district maintained full-day programs.
"When you have close to two-thirds of students in VISD considered economically disadvantaged, having programs that help those students is important," she said.
Victoria resident Kindsey Kelley plans to send her 3-year-old son, Tyler Bracht, to a Christian preschool so religion is incorporated into lesson plans.
"I feel like that's important," she said. "If more people had that, maybe they wouldn't get into trouble later on."
The social aspect is another thing that sold Kelley on preschool, she said. While Tyler has many cousins, he is the baby, and learning to work with other children could help.
"We think it'll be good," she said with a smile at her son, who was perched at a picnic table eating a corn dog. "We're excited."