OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Starting school can be terrifying for some children, and especially for parents.

But Oklahoma City Public Schools has created an environment for pre-K students to thrive.

“Kiddos are learning social-emotional skills,” said Dr. Stephanie Hinton, OKCPS Director of Early Childhood. “They are learning the foundations of literacy and numeracy skills to help them be stronger readers, writers, and mathematicians later in life.” 

Hinton told KFOR it’s not just about one year. The district’s pre-K classes will set up students for success that will last their lifetime.

Since Pre-K enrollment numbers dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, school officials are hoping to encourage families to get back into the classroom.

“A lot of interesting research has been done over the years that children with high-quality early learning opportunities are more likely to hold down a stable job and have increased incomes,” said Hinton. 

That’s one of many reasons the school district welcomes parents to enroll their children in Pre-k classes. 

“We have state standards focused on pre-K, and we also purchase developmentally appropriate curriculum for our students,” said Hinton. 

OKCPS has free, full-day pre-K spots for any student within the district boundaries, without a wait list or lottery.

“They also are starting to learn what school is about and that it can be fun,” said Melinda Elms, Hawthorne Elementary Principal. 

The district encourages interested families to complete a transfer form before April 15th.