IRVING – As enrollment for next school year begins, there’s a new push across Dallas-Fort Worth to get children into pre-Kindergarten classes.

Irving ISD is starting a new program aimed at boosting enrollment.

We spent a morning at Kinkeade Early Childhood School in Irving, home of some of the district's existing programs, to explore why pre-K is so important.

For a group of eager four and five years olds inside, every new lesson was a reason to celebrate.

At pre-K, they’re learning not just shapes, colors, and numbers. Teachers say they’re building a foundation for a lifetime of learning and working with others.

“At the beginning of the year they're usually in tears and that's normal. They're scared of everybody around them, they don't know how to talk to peers,” said Patricia Payne, a pre-K teacher at Kinkeade Early Childhood School.
"By the end of the year, they're making friends on their own.”

Pre-K shows kids how to make friends and work as a team. It show them how school works, and it’s important to start early.

Research shows 80 percent of brain development happens by the time a child is five years old.

Studies show children who attend pre-K are more likely to graduate from high school and do better on state assessment tests than their peers who did not attend pre-K.

Alicia Martinez says she’s inspired by her 5-year-old son’s growth over the last school year.

“He's reading and writing already,” said Martinez.

Alexander is one of 1,800 students enrolled in Irving ISD’s pre-K.

“He's more social now, he knows how to interact with more people,” said Martinez.

Irving ISD is finding new ways to make early education available for more people.

“We're looking for ways to expand opportunities for students throughout this community, and this is just one more piece that we're adding to the entire approach,” said Adam Grinage, superintendent of academic services.

For the first time, the district is opening pre-K to all kids who live in district boundaries, not just those who meet certain income or eligibility requirements.

It’s a full-day, tuition-based program starting next school year, with enrollment underway now.

It costs $100 a week, which Grinage says is less than the cost of daycare.

Irving ISD’s half-day pre-K programs or full day Head Start programs are free if you meet certain requirements.

The district will accept student enrollment for its pre-K program through the first day of school in the fall.

To find out more, go to here.