PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – Four-year-olds in Arkansas could be more prepared than those in other states.
Preschools in Arkansas rank second in the nation. The way kids are taught in any level of education in Arkansas has changed a lot in the past few years.
Kids at Greene County Tech preschool are playing, using their imaginations, and learning all at the same time.
"They come to preschool and they're just like little sponges. They love it," said Greene County Tech Principal Teresa Hurt.
Hurt said she's noticed a lot of changes in the way preschools are set up.
"We've seen it progressively getting better over the years and I think we deserve it," said Hurt.
Now the National Institute for Early Education Research ranks Arkansas preschools number two in the nation for enrollment, funding, and quality standards. Hurt said she's not surprised by the ranking.
"The guidelines are pretty rigid on what we have to do and the standards we have to meet but when you look at how far our students have come and how much they enjoy it. I think other states could follow our example," said Hurt.
Teacher Rebecca Stallings said kids are learning more things at a younger age.
"As long as the kids are learning and enjoying themselves it's not hard to learn it's not frustrating for them," said Stallings.
"They do a lot of different things science, math, social studies, reading and preparation for all of it," said Hurt.
In Greene County they offer a free program for four-year-old students. It's funded by the Arkansas Better Chance program and the Arkansas School Lunch Act. They always have a waiting list and can only take so many children.
"We are making learners for life. We are providing them with lots of background knowledge lots of experiences books and materials to work with," said Stallings.
"When they go to kindergarten they're more sure of themselves they're more prepared," said Hurt.
Hurt also believes coming from a high performing state will benefit students in years to come!
"I think you're going to see more and more students in this state especially that will have less trouble as they get older," said Hurt.
The school also offers the program for three year olds with special circumstances. To qualify the students must meet certain standards and only some are accepted. There are eleven preschool classrooms at Greene County Tech.