HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Pre-school enrollment is down across the state because of the pandemic. In the Fountain Lake School District, half as many pre-k students are enrolled as last year. That’s why they introduced a virtual option that brings the classroom to their living room.
The A,B,C’s and 1,2,3’s are the foundation for young minds.
“Pre-school is vital,” Fountain Lake Elementary Principal Katie Curry said.
Despite the importance of that year, Curry said their numbers have dropped by half.
“Partially not getting the word out back in March when COVID started last spring, parents are maybe fearful to send their kids on site,” Curry said.
Looking for a safer option for parents, they partnered with Waterford Upstart, a program offered by the state that’s completely virtual.
“Students have a device that’s delivered into their home,” Curry said.
Now, their teacher is just a click away. Jasmine Norman’s daughter Aymslee is enrolled in the program and it keeps her eyes glued to the screen.
“She said ‘mom I have to do my work.’ She just does her own thing and does her time and when she’s done, she knows how to get out of it and close the computer and ask to go play,” Norman said.
It also has tools for parents to keep track of their kid’s progress.
“It sends me emails helping me with don’t forget to set your routine with your child. If they’re having trouble with this math skill here are some resources that you can use,” Norman said.
With each correct answer and lesson completed, these students are getting ready for the next level.
Fountain Lake currently has 100 spots open for the Waterford Upstart program. It is completely free.
The child needs to have turned four before August of 2020. Parents can enroll their children until March.