DALLAS — Mi Escuelita has been educating Dallas children for more than 40 years. The nonprofit mainly serves low income families whose primary language at home is not English.
"Our goal is to get these children ready for kindergarten and ready to go straight into English speaking classrooms," said Betsy Orton, Chief Development Officer for Mi Escuelita.
Studies show children who receive pre-k education excel more than their peers who don't once they enter grade school. And students who are proficient in English before entering in kindergarten have an easier time in school as well.
But that education isn't always in reach for low income families.
According to a government survey, preschool can cost between $4,000 and $13,000 a year. That's where Mi Escuelita steps in.
"It's about setting these children up for success," Orton said.
Mi Escuelita uses a specialized curriculum to prepare kids for primary education and it seems to be working. Last year 85 percent of Mi Escuelita's graduates left "kinder ready" and ready to go into English speaking classrooms across Dallas.
Many of the teachers have worked at the school for decades and say it's amazing to have former students come back years later who are excelling.
Teachers work with students on math, reading, writing and language in a classroom setting. Word of Mi Escuelita often travels through word of mouth and there are families on the waiting list to get in.
"Our parents are just amazing. They are so appreciative of this place and they are passionate about their children pursuing their dreams," Orton said.
Teachers say students transform from the first day of school to graduation, becoming more independent and confident in a classroom setting.
"Confidence is really such a gift," Orton said.
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