Pre-K 4 SA: Enrollment for Ages 3 and 4

It’s time to start making your enrollment plan for Pre-K 4 SA! Because we are now open to 3- and 4-year-olds, applications are submitted quickly, so please mark your calendars to secure a spot. Enrollment applications will open to the public on February 1, 2023. Applications are numbered as they are submitted and enrollment is on a first-come first-serve basis. Accepted applicants will be notified by email beginning Monday, February 6. Notifications will continue each Monday as space is available at each center. Enrollment at the education centers is limited and there may be a waiting list. Pre-K 4 SA will provide assistance to families who may need help finding other high-quality pre-kindergarten options if there are not enough seats at a Pre-K 4 SA center.

Why Pre-K 4 SA?

Pre-K 4 SA’s program is designed to utilize a child’s natural acts of play to build a foundation in concepts such as math, science, language and art while increasing language and social skills. Through strategically-designed play, Pre-K 4 SA builds the foundation for a love of learning that extends beyond the preschool years.

Pre-K 4 SA makes the application process easy with four simple steps: 

  • Step 1: Parents complete an online application (via phone, online, in-person) to request a Center preference and confirm eligibility.
  • Step 2: Accepted applicants will be notified by email beginning the 1st Monday in February. Notifications will continue each Monday as space is available at each Center.
  • Step 3: Upon notification, you will be asked to begin your online registration in the Pre-K 4 SA Parent Portal. All necessary documentation will be submitted online for review.
  • Step 4: Once all necessary paperwork has been processed, your child will officially be registered to attend Pre-K 4 SA.

FAQs

Can my three-year-old attend Pre-K 4 SA?

  • Yes! Your child just needs to turn 3 or 4 years old by September 1, 2023.

Which schools participate in Pre-K 4 SA?

  • East Central ISD, Edgewood ISD, Essence Prep, Harlandale ISD, North East ISD, Northside ISD, San Antonio ISD, South San Antonio ISD, and Southwest ISD are participating districts. If you reside in one of these school districts, you could be eligible to attend any Pre-K 4 SA Education Center for free. 
  • Families living in non-participating school districts are not eligible to attend Pre-K 4 SA for free.

If I live in a non-participating school district, can I still go to Pre-K 4 SA?

  • Any child living within the city limits of San Antonio or Extra Territorial Jurisdiction can attend Pre-K 4 SA. However, all students from non-participating school districts must pay tuition to participate in the program (even if they meet the eligibility requirements for free Pre-K).

Can I apply online?

  • Yes. You can start your contactless application on February 1 or over the phone at 210-206-PREK (7735).

 

Have more questions about enrollment? Visit our FAQ page for more information.

Together We Can Be The Dream

Pre-K 4 SA attended the annual MLK March on the Eastside of San Antonio to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Pre-K 4 SA children, families and staff marched alongside city officials, sports teams, community organizations, other schools, city departments, businesses, and nonprofits.

Marching is an opportunity to connect with the community, show unity within San Antonio, voice our support, and to show children that even at a young age, they are empowered to be the dream. At the conclusion of the march, Pre-K 4 SA set up a booth to meet and connect with the community and share information about the program.

MLK 2023

“The time is always ripe to do what is right”

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (1963)

 

Pre-K 4 SA Family Engagement

Pre-K 4 SA believes that supporting a child–along with their entire family–helps children build a successful learning foundation for life. That’s why our Family Engagement Team collaborates closely with teachers, administrators, and staff. The team’s mission is to encourage educational potential in the home, engage families in school leadership, and build on each family’s unique strengths and abilities to cultivate a thriving environment that is sustainable.

We are educating families as a whole through positive parent-child relationships, leadership strategies, and ways to bridge the gap between the living room and the classroom. 

Our programs engage families in two-way communication because families are their children’s first and most important teacher. 

One of our most successful Pre-K 4 SA Family Engagement programs is called Parents as Partners, which gives families a front-row seat to their children’s educational experience. Each center has a Parent Partner Group that works together to build community, engage in the classroom, and provide overall support to teachers and staff. 

There are many programs that families can be involved in at Pre-K for SA. H-E-B Read 3 program selects 25 families from each center and provides one book a month to children to build their reading skills. The Gracias program engages children and their families by partnering local artists with classrooms, and visiting signature sites around San Antonio. Students then create artwork in collaboration with the artist based on their experiences, and the artwork is then exhibited and auctioned for charity. These are just a few ways families can engage in their child’s learning at Pre-K 4 SA.

From planning school events and addressing common concerns, to serving as an advisory committee on curriculum and activities, groups work collaboratively to positively impact each campus. This collaboration includes the formation of parent-led working committees with specific outcomes aligned with curriculum, such as Raising A Reader, Gardening & Outdoor Play, and Parents Helping Parents. 

Pre-K 4 SA’s support of families stretches beyond education. 

Some of our highest utilized resources at Pre-K 4 SA are related to counseling, food assistance, and utility assistance. Our Counseling Support Services connect both adults and children to experts and resources for addressing various family hardships, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or military leave.

Pre-K 4 SA’s Food Referral Services supports families who are facing food insecurity by connecting them to programs that can help. Examples include the San Antonio Food Bank’s shared produce distribution program and offering application assistance for WIC, SNAP, and PEBT benefits.

Utility Assistance and Housing Referrals help guide families who are dealing with disconnection notices and high bills, and support families who have lost housing assistance or are experiencing homelessness. We also connect families with agencies, emergency shelters, and temporary housing programs in times of need.

Family engagement is an everlasting relationship between Pre-K 4 SA staff and the children and families we serve. We are equipping families with the tools they need to be successful, not just for the years we have them–but for life. If you are a caregiver interested in any of the resources mentioned above or ready to become an ambassador of the program, please contact prek4sa@sanantonio.gov. If you are a community member looking to partner with Pre-K 4 SA’s Family Engagement Team, please contact virginia.sandoval@sanantonio.gov

Written by: Virginia Sandoval

Call for Artists: Your Guide to Gracias San Antonio

Gracias San Antonio: Children are Citizens Project is a classroom-based opportunity for local artists to collaborate with three- and four-year-old students enrolled in Pre-K 4 SA centers across the city.  

Each classroom is paired with a volunteer artist to work together to create a work of art inspired by the city itself. As part of the curriculum, students explore San Antonio’s iconic landmarks with their families for artistic inspiration.

Once completed, the final art piece is presented at a fundraising exhibition where attendees can bid on the artwork, and all proceeds will benefit a local nonprofit the students voted on in November. 

 

FAQ 

What are the requirements to participate as a volunteer artist? 

No professional arts experience is required to participate. Time commitment of 1 hour per week in the classroom for a total of 6 weeks is required. 

Can artists pick the age or classroom they want? 

Artists pick the Pre-K 4 SA Center most convenient for them and a classroom. The artist will stay with the same classroom for the duration of the project. 

What is the inspiration or subject for the artwork? 

As part of the project, students go on field trip-like experiences, known as City Explorations, to various landmarks throughout the city to find inspiration for the work of art. Artists will work in collaboration with the students to bring their inspiration to life. 

What artistic mediums and practices are allowed? 

Artist volunteers will meet with their classroom’s teacher to discuss the artwork idea, techniques, medium, and materials needed.

What kind of impact does the program have? 

Inspiring young minds through the power of art is the gift of a lifetime. In addition to sharing your talent with San Antonio youth, you are also creating a piece of artwork that is inspired by the culture of our community and brought to life through the eyes and talents of Pre-K 4 SA children  that will help raise money for a nonprofit organization in need.

How do I sign up to be a volunteer artist? 

Attend the Artist Reception in December, or contact prek4sa@sanantonio.gov

 

a pink and red paper artwork defined with cut and layered squares 

MORE ABOUT GRACIAS SAN ANTONIO 

This annual project is grounded in the belief that children are not just future citizens, they are citizens at this moment in time, with the right to express their opinions and civically engage in San Antonio. All Pre-K 4 SA students have the opportunity to vote for a nonprofit, explore the best of San Antonio’s landmarks, and bring their inspirations to life through art right in their classrooms. 

Since 2013, the project has raised funds for the following nonprofits: Good Samaritan Community Services, San Antonio Humane Society, Any Baby Can of San Antonio, Children’s Shelter, Child Safe, St. Pj’s Children’s Home, Therapy Animals of San Antonio and the THRU Project.

 


GRACIAS TIMELINE
November

  • Pre-K 4 SA students vote for a local nonprofit to support throughout the year. 
  • Call for artists sent out to invite artists to learn about the project during a reception in December

December 

  • Teachers, students, and their families go on City Explorations 
  • Artist reception is held to provide details about the project, answer any questions, meet the teachers, and confirm participation. 
  • Once confirmed, classroom teachers meet with artists to discuss the art proposal, medium, techniques and classroom work session schedule.

January-February 

  • In January the art creation process kicks off. Local artists join children in the classroom to create authentic art pieces using a variety of artistic mediums to express the children’s perspective of their city and the places they visit and explore. The creative phase lasts for six weeks through mid-February. 

March 

  • Final artwork for each classroom is submitted for official photography, to be included in the Gracias Exhibition Guide and Online Auction

April 

  • More than 100 art pieces are displayed in a public gallery exhibition (also available online) in April and auctioned to raise money for the selected nonprofit organization. 

Gracias San Antonio: Children Are Citizens

Pre-K 4 SA has partnered with local artists to help our youngest citizens create quality art pieces representative of our city. 

 

At Pre-K 4 SA, 3- and 4-year-olds learn how to become civic-minded individuals through an innovative curriculum-driven program called Gracias San Antonio: Children Are Citizens. Gracias San Antonio is grounded in the belief that children are not just future citizens, but also are citizens of the city in the here and now, with the right to express their opinions and participate in the civic and cultural life of San Antonio.  

Gracias San Antonio is a six-month project where children have the opportunity to vote for a nonprofit, explore the best of San Antonio’s landmarks, and bring their inspirations to life through art right in their classrooms. 

Local artists volunteer time to visit a Pre-K 4 SA classroom to discuss what students observed and how they felt while exploring the city. Artists then develop a concept that reflect the children’s perspectives on their community and collaborate on creating an art piece. Upon completion, the artwork is displayed in a museum style setting, and the community is invited to view and bid on artwork to take home. Proceeds from the art exhibit are donated to the charity selected at the beginning of the school year. 

 

Timeline

November – Voting 

On election day, Pre-K 4 SA’s Parent Cafés are transformed into mock-up voting polls. American flags and red, white, and blue streamers adorn the voting polls, and children one-by-one cast their vote as they choose their nonprofit. 

2022 Candidates: Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas (winner), Soldiers Angels, Texas Diaper Bank 

children and teacher explore rocks outside to make artwork

December – City Explorations 

Teachers invite their classroom and their families to engage in City Explorations around San Antonio to help children learn about their city. San Antonio becomes the classroom and the children are the explorers as they visit local parks, historic city sites, art exhibits, monuments, and local establishments. These explorations allow children to gain ideas and inspiration for their art collaborations with their classroom artists. 

a seated teacher instructs a child student how to draw a circle as the child looks on with awe

January and February – The art creation process begins.  

Pre-K 4 SA strongly believes that by engaging students in art experiences at a young age, children deeply develop their thinking, creativity, and learn to express themselves. Therefore, local artists join children in the classroom to create authentic art pieces using a variety of artistic mediums to express the children’s perspective of their city and the places they explored.  

More than 100 art pieces are then displayed in a public gallery exhibit in April and auctioned to raise money for the selected nonprofit organization. 

adults gather around a museum style exhibition of student artwork

April – Exhibit and Auction  

Art enthusiasts and all citizens of San Antonio are invited to view art pieces at a local gallery. The community can bid on and secure their favorite piece of art through an online auction. 

Winning bidders will be notified and have the option to pay online or by phone and have the artwork shipped or arrange pick up at  a Pre-K 4 SA Education Center between in May.  

Are you an artist interested in partnering with us? Email: pre-k4sa@sanantonio.gov 

 

First Day of School Printables

The first day of school isn’t complete without the annual “first day picture.” Check out the Pre-K 4 SA and Gardendale printable signs below. No printer? No problem. We’ll have plenty printed out and ready for you during drop off.

If you upload your picture to social media, don’t forget to tag us @prek4sa!

These signs are meant to be printed on an 8.5×11 paper, portrait orientation and full color.

Budget-Friendly Summer Activities the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Are you looking for affordable, family-friendly activities for the summer? At Pre-K 4 SA, we love to provide our families with fun and interactive ways to continue learning throughout the summer. Every year our team researches budget-friendly activities your entire family can enjoy. Let San Antonio become the classroom as you explore local parks, historic city sites, art exhibits, museums, pools and more.

Be sure to check out the list of events that Pre-K 4 SA is hosting or participating in this summer and join us for some summer fun!

Click the link below to download the 2022 Budget-Friendly Summer Activities guide. We hope you and your family have a wonderful summer!

Budget-Friendly Summer Fun 2022

 

 

 

Keeping the Pre-K 4 SA Promise – Increasing Access to Early Learning for San Antonio Families

The Parent Café was already buzzing with new families talking with enrollment team members and registering their 4-year-olds for the 2022-2023 school year. You could hear the excitement in the children’s voices as they spoke to their parents and wandered around, smiling at new faces or sitting down on the couch with a cautious enthusiasm to share a book with another child.

And as of May 9, Pre-K 4 SA has opened enrollment for 3-year-olds too. When the news reached one of the families in the Parent Café, both the mom and little boys smiled and clapped together, knowing they could enroll both children.

Research indicates 90% of brain development occurs before the age of five. This is when the foundations of language, social, and emotional growth, key factors in future academic success, are created and developed.

“We know that one year of high-quality early learning has demonstrated proven long-term success for children,” Pre-K 4 SA CEO Sarah Baray said. “National research indicates that two years of pre-k is exponentially better and has immediate, short term and long-term benefits to children, families, and the community. And we are seeing a need for access for 3-year-olds, especially coming out of the pandemic.”

Pre-K 4 SA also saw a need to help San Antonio’s working, middle-class families who may need financial support but do not already qualify for free, high-quality pre-K through Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidelines. Families can receive additional tuition assistance through its expanded scholarship structure, which now provides free pre-K to those families making up to $75,000. Families can easily determine their personal investment in their child’s learning at Pre-K 4 SA by accessing the scholarship calculator.

Brenda Rosas has three boys who attended Pre-K 4 SA. She feels her children were better prepared for elementary school than their peers.

“Pre-K 4 SA gives them a great head start to their education,” said Rosas. “I have an ongoing joke with the family liaison where I wish my children could have been here another year. The benefits are tremendous – they are prepared for elementary and beyond. And an extra year would have been great to give them the extra one-on-one time with the teacher but also help them thrive.”

Mrs. Rosas has seen the positive impact on high-quality early learning for all three of her boys. She believes her children are not only prepared more academically, but she has also seen social and emotional development of her children, which has helped her oldest son, who is now in middle school.

At Pre-K 4 SA, we understand that family members are a child’s first and most important teachers. Learning is collaborative and extends far beyond the classroom. Now, the same teachers, children, and families will work together for two years allowing for deeper learning and development both in and out of the classroom.

Just like our 4-year-olds, the 3-year-olds will receive the same benefits from Pre-K 4 SA, such as transportation with the 5-point safety harness, nutritious family-style meals and snacks, as well as access to extended-day care for our working families. We offer integrated, full inclusion classrooms with both 3- and 4-year-olds. This will help older children develop better leadership skills while the younger students learn from their interactions.

Opening enrollment to 3- and 4-year-olds and expanding the scholarship structure is part of Pre-K 4 SA’s commitment to providing high-quality, research-based early education that empowers children at a critical age for school and life success. To learn more about enrollment, please call 210-206-PREK or apply online. An enrollment specialist is available to answer any questions and support our families throughout the application and enrollment process.

How Pre-K 4 SA is helping the Child Care Shortage in San Antonio

Recognizing The Post-COVID Child Care Deficit

When Covid-19 shut the world down, millions of families no longer had a Child Care Center open to care for their children. As a result, many families turned to smaller, private family child care providers for assistance. Family child care providers already outnumbered Child Development Centers in the number of children served, and in the shadows of shelter in place, social distancing, and quarantine, they rose to the challenges facing the entire world by keeping their doors open for even more children. This often unnoticed sector shouldered the burden of avoiding economic collapse and continued serving working families. With this added responsibility, it’s time to step in, and Pre-K 4 SA wants to help.

Recognizing the Importance of the 0-5 Years

The first five years of human life are when 90% of brain development happens. The foundations of language and social and emotional growth, key factors in future academic success, are created with a proliferation of synaptic connections during this time period and subsequent pruning of those that are unused regularly starting around the age of 7. With the rest of a child’s life dependent on getting these early years right, we need to expand learning opportunities for all providers of care to young children to receive the training and support needed to build strong and healthy brains ready to learn.

Pre-K 4 SA Support and Resources Can Be Game-Changing

Family child care providers are nearly one hundred percent women-owned, mostly by women of color, and primarily serve other women who work non-traditional hours. They serve smaller ratios of children and are the primary choice for infant care across all socio-economic backgrounds. More than 7 million children ages five and under have their early learning experiences with family child care providers, and that is nearly double the number of children who are cared for in child development centers or school care (3.8 million). However, historically, the training and resources for them have not been prioritized.

In Texas, to open a home-based child care center, you must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED. The training requirements to open a center depend on what type of family child care you want to open. There are no training requirements to open a Listed Family Home, and for a Registered or Licensed Home, 30 clock hours of annual training are required. In contrast, Texas requires preschool teachers in the public school system to hold a college degree. So you can see the incredible need for support, collaboration and training to serve our birth-5 year population. 

Pre-K 4 SA’s Professional Learning Program Is Expanding Its Reach

Pre-K4SA understands that in order to meet its vision of increasing the number of high-quality early learning and care options for San Antonio from birth to age 5, our professional learning services need to expand to include these family child care providers throughout our city. Family child care providers are an increasingly important piece of the early learning infrastructure for our city’s families, economy, and future citizens, and we must continue to create opportunities for all young children to thrive in every setting they receive care.

That’s why Pre-K 4 SA has partnered with Avance, an organization delivering equitable access to resources and opportunities for predominately Latino children and families to reach their fullest potential. Together, they are providing a new program called Quality Child Care Matters (QCCM) to our city’s family child care homes. The program’s goal is to create communities of learning with family providers, with training on high-quality practices for the early stages of child development, and dialogue and support for needs specific to this type of childcare setting with the goal of increasing the number of high-quality options for San Antonio families seeking care for their children. The program is offered in English and Spanish and meets monthly as a group with individual support in between sessions.

If you or anyone you know is a child care provider, home-based or center-based, we encourage you to take advantage of these resources. You’ll be changing lives!

The next QCCM session will be April 30th on Business Policies and Procedures at the Pre-K 4 SA West Education Center from 8:00 to 11:00 AM. Interested providers are invited to join us and find out more by contacting Kristina Herrera.

Gracias San Antonio, Children’s Art Making a Difference within the San Antonio Community

For the last eight years, Pre-K 4 SA’s 4-year-olds have inspired local artists to create quality art pieces to benefit nonprofit initiatives.

At Pre-K 4 SA, through an innovative curriculum-driven program called Gracias San Antonio: Children Are Citizens, 4-year-olds are learning how to become civic-minded individuals; and they love every moment of supporting the community, creating art, and learning about local nonprofits. Gracias San Antonio is grounded in the belief that children are not just future citizens, but also are citizens of the city in the here and now, with the right to express their opinions and participate in the civic and cultural life of San Antonio.

“This is my eighth year with Pre-K 4 SA, and I feel Gracias gets better every year! It’s such an awesome event that allows our students to work alongside some of San Antonio’s best artists,” said Stephanie Flores, East Center master teacher.

Since 2013, Gracias San Antonio has raised more than $33,000 for the following nonprofits: Good Samaritan Community Services, San Antonio Humane Society, Any Baby Can of San Antonio, Children’s Shelter, Child Safe, St. Pj’s Children’s Home, and Therapy Animals of San Antonio.

Gracias San Antonio is a six-month project where children have the opportunity to vote for a nonprofit, explore the best of San Antonio’s landmarks, and bring their inspirations to life through art right in their classrooms.

Every year, in November, Pre-K 4 SA children vote in a school-wide election to select a nonprofit organization the children learn about and support throughout the year. On election day—scheduled on the same day as the actual election—Pre-K 4 SA’s Parent Cafés are transformed into mock-up voting polls. American flags and red, white, and blue streamers adorn the voting polls, and children one-by-one cast their vote as they choose their nonprofit of choice. Also, Pre-K 4 SA children, families, and staff participate in volunteer opportunities with the nonprofit.

In December, teachers invite children and their families to engage in City Explorations around San Antonio to help children learn about their city. San Antonio becomes the classroom and the children the explorers as they visit local parks, historic city sites, art exhibits, monuments, and local establishments. These explorations serve for children to gain ideas and inspiration for their art collaborations with their classroom artists.

In January and February, the art creation process begins. Pre-K 4 SA strongly believes that by engaging students in art experiences at a young age, children more deeply develop their thinking and creativity, learning to express themselves. Therefore, local artists join children in the classroom to create authentic art pieces using a variety of artistic mediums to express the children’s perspective of their city and the places they visit and explore. More than 100 art pieces are then displayed in a public gallery exhibit in April and auctioned to raise money for the selected nonprofit organization.

“Their own fearless creativity inspires me to create an art piece. As adults, we get used to being told, ‘this won’t work’ or ‘it has to be done this way’ that we hold our own creativity back. Kids don’t buy into that. Their imagination allows them to think outside of the box,” said Mary Klonek-Reyes, local San Antonio artist and returning Gracias volunteer. “I love how energetic and excited the kids get to learn new techniques and use new tools. Anything you teach a child has the ability to breathe new meaning into their existence, to open their eyes to new possibilities and new ways of thinking and feeling.”

The THRU Project was selected by children and their families as the 2021-2022 school year beneficiary nonprofit. Their mission is to help foster youth overcome the challenges of growing up in a foster care system by providing guidance, support, and advocacy to prepare them for life after foster care.

“The THRU Project team was thrilled to be selected as this year’s Gracias Project beneficiary by the youth and families at Pre-K 4 SA,” said Courtney Laverty, CFRE and CEO of THRU Project. “This partnership will enable us to provide mentors, life skills training and housing for current foster youth and those who have aged out. Thank you for helping to bridge the gap between foster care and adulthood!”

As the world becomes increasingly more globalized and connected, knowledge of ourselves as individual learners and as members of a community becomes more important. Through Gracias San Antonio children have the opportunity to become active contributors within their community in order to make their city a better place to work, play, and live.

Stay connected to Pre-K 4 SA’s social media platforms to find out more about our Gracias San Antonio yearly activities and to be the first one to know when the 2021-2022 Gracias San Antonio Online Art Auction opens.