While not many things are normal about this school year, it does not change the fact that students need to be in school. Even amid the pandemic we are experiencing, public schools remain the best choice for your students. To quote the organization Friends of Texas Public Schools, “public schools have never been more successful than they are today. The highly skilled, professionally trained educators love kids and are more prepared than any other modern options to properly educate your children, whether live on campus or online from home.”

Early Childhood Education is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a little one discover something for the first time. The first time they read a word, write their own name or learn how to solve a real-life story problem makes teaching little ones a blessing indeed. Lufkin ISD offers a proven aligned curriculum that includes social skills, creative processes, solid math foundation, self-confidence, reading and writing, emotional development, play in a safe environment, the opportunity to explore their world, and a nutritious breakfast and lunch.

Research has taught us that learning and mental development begin immediately after birth. According to “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gab by Age 3,” a 1995 research study proved that much of the most critical brain development in children takes place before they even reach kindergarten. Therefore, we need to be introducing our children to the wonders of knowledge and education well before 5 years of age. That is our mission in early childhood education.

Developing oral language skills is extremely important in early childhood education. Students need to be read to, talked to and questioned. Our PreK and Kindergarten classrooms provide multiple opportunities throughout the day to learn new words and practice using them, both formally and informally, through writing and play. This is the perfect age to begin developing critical thinking skills and that is a part of our early childhood program in LISD.

Students learn about numbers, shapes, patterns, measurement, and real-life stories involving numbers. They acquire a solid math foundation that can be built upon each year. Students need opportunities to develop math vocabulary, explore math concepts, manipulate and count objects to strengthen their math foundation.

Students improve their social skills in our PreK and Kindergarten classrooms. They learn to listen attentively, speak and respond appropriately and respect one another. They learn to share, take turns, and help each other.

The best part in PreK and Kindergarten is teaching a child to read. Our programs help students hear sounds, teach them the letters that match those sounds, and then string those sounds together to make a word. Reading is integral to future success in learning.

We can provide all these opportunities for students in LISD. I hope parents will give us the opportunity to assist them in starting their child out on this lifelong journey. PreK and Kindergarten sets the tone for a child’s entire educational career. It is not too late to enroll your child in the Lufkin ISD Pre-K program. All you need to do is call your local school, Hackney Primary (634-3324) for 3-year-old students and Garrett Primary (634-8418) for 4-year-old students.

Help your child Start on Track and Stay on Track, be Lufkin Proud.

Lynn Torres is the superintendent of Lufkin ISD. Her email address is ltorres@lufkinisd.org.