State’s new program will help better prepare kids for kindergarten

Education

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Young kids in New Mexico are going to get even more attention in the classroom as the state is partnering with an early education nonprofit to get children better prepared for kindergarten. This comes after what is being called an exodus of kids five and under from the public school system. Officials said they hope this new program can help them bounce back.

The state is working to get thousands of New Mexico children better equipped for kindergarten. “Everybody learns differently,” one Albuquerque parent said.

The state is partnering with Waterford, an early education nonprofit with programs to help kids prepare for their first day of school. Some districts and families in New Mexico are already using it. “She is counting, using her colors, shapes, and it is amazing,” the local parent said.

The nonprofit provides a comprehensive curriculum for students pre-k through second grade that guides students along their own personalized learning path. Parents can access 15-minute lessons and view progress data logged by teachers. Computer and internet services are provided at no cost to families in need.

State officials are training educators on the new platform which Waterford said is being rolled out to all public school districts statewide come fall. “It is very apparent that children have missed out on learning they would have gotten over the past year so the state of New Mexico with their funding they got from the federal government said ‘we have got to do something to fill this gap,'” Vice President of Communication for Waterford.org Kim Fischer said.

This comes after a decrease of kids in the public school system. According to the Associated Press, there are 20% fewer pre-k students enrolled this year and 12.5% fewer in kindergarten. “This program helps no matter what,” the parent said. “Whether you choose to send your student to a public school or choose to keep them at home, it is a great stepping stone.”

The state is investing $875,000 in a contract with Waterford. They’re also working with tribal communities and childcare centers. KRQE News 13 reached out to the Public Education Department and a couple of school districts about the new platform. Albuquerque Public Schools said that they don’t have information on the program right now. Santa Fe Public Schools said they have been using the program since last summer and received positive feedback from families and teachers.

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