Children at Risk press conference stresses importance of early childhood education

Education experts, including HISD Deputy Superintendent Kenneth Huewitt, gathered for a Children at Risk press conference on Feb. 24 at Cunningham Elementary School to stress the importance of early childhood education.

“HISD’s data shows prekindergarten graduates outperform their peers in later grades,” said Huewitt. “We must start in Pre-K, with our most needy kids. No child should go without early education.”

HISD’s full-day Pre-K program, which is offered to three- and four-year-olds, began in 2006. HISD now offers full-day Pre-K at 155 of its 186 elementary campuses, with four of the nine early childhood centers focusing exclusively on Pre-K instruction.

Collaborative for Children CEO and President Carol Shattuck emphasized the profound impact of education during children’s formative years, stating that birth to three-years-old is the most critical time for learning, when the architecture of the brain is forming. A quality early education with experienced teachers impacts students in later years, she noted.

HISD’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) arms parents with the tools and skills they need to act as their children’s first teachers. The home-based, family-focused school-readiness program provides instructional materials and guidance for parents of three-, four-, and five-year-old children in English and Spanish, free of charge.

Currently, HISD has more than 14,000 students enrolled in early education classes, and that number is growing. If you would like more information on HISD’s early childhood and Pre-K offerings, please visit the HISD Early Childhood Education web page.