PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The PreK4ward program is all about getting kids ready for kindergarten. Thanks to the United Way of South Mississippi and several other partners, parents only have to pay a registration fee when their little ones are enrolled in the program.
"We receive anonymous funding from some locations, some sources, and then also other with our partners bring that money in," said Austin Coomer.
Coomer, who is the director of community impact and education for United Way of South Mississippi, said they've helped sponsor the program for three years, and it's been quite successful.
"Out of the five schools, we've had about 190 students sign up. We only had room for about 20 in each room, so we only had room for about 100 this year," said Coomer.
The newest classroom is at Pineville Elementary School. The kids have only been there two days, but already they're learning a lot.
"It teaches them letters, upper case, lower case, shapes, numbers, colors, all of the kind of fundamentals for kindergarten," said Coomer.
Coomer and other program leaders would like to see even more funding put in place so PreK4ward can be offered in more schools to more students to get them kindergarten ready.
"When you start with the 4-year-olds, they're not able to catch on and be ready for kindergarten. They're so far behind and not able to meet that third grade reading level."
Students who go through PreK4ward, according to Coomer, are tested as being 85 percent to 90 percent ready for kindergarten by the end of the year.
Right now, there are about five spots left in the Pineville Elementary PreK4ward class. Here's the link to register: http://www.prek4ward.org/Application.php.