Guide to Enrolling Your Four-Year-Old in Pre-K 4 SA

preschool girl raising hand with finger and surprised smile on her face

Pre-K 4 SA is a city-funded initiative to provide full-day prekindergarten to thousands of four-year-old children in San Antonio. In addition, it provides professional development for teachers in early childhood education and makes grants to early childhood programs across San Antonio to expand access. The vision of Pre-K 4 SA is that the widespread availability of high quality early childhood education will, within a generation, elevate San Antonio’s workforce to a world class level. This guide will share what parents and caregivers looking for San Antonio preschools need to know about enrolling their children at one of the four education centers around the city.

About Pre-K 4 SA

Since its founding in 2013, Pre-K 4 SA has provided full-day prekindergarten for thousands of students at its four education centers. By focusing on four-year-old children, the program lays a foundation that will help these children perform better in school for years to come.

Children who attend do what they naturally do—play. However, the program is designed strategically so that the children’s play also helps them build memory and imagination. The materials and activities at the centers introduce language, math, science, and art. Students also build language and social skills.

The 2020–21 school year is unusual because they are offering two tracks: remote learning and in-person learning. This video, featuring CEO Dr. Sarah Baray, explains more about their back to school plan.

 

Pre-K 4 SA has a broader impact on the community through its grants program that increases quality and access in early childhood programs across San Antonio. Also, educators who teach prekindergarten to third grade are welcomed for free professional development to support best practices.

For more information, we recommend you read some of the many news stories linked at the bottom of this post. Also, we invite you to join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook and ask questions; the group includes current and former Pre-K 4 SA families who can comment with answers about their own experiences.

Pre-K 4 SA Centers in San Antonio

Pre-K 4 SA has four education centers in San Antonio: East, North, South, and West. Each center has capacity for 500 students. For information about safety, we have included links to search Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) child care records, where available. The only grade level offered at each campus is prekindergarten for four year olds.

  • East Education Center: 5230 Eisenhauer Rd., San Antonio, TX 78218; 210-206-2850; DFPS Child Care
  • North Education Center: 3635 Medical Dr., San Antonio, TX 78229; 210-206-2800; DFPS Child Care
  • South Education Center: 7031 S New Braunfels Ave., San Antonio, TX 78223; 210-206-2700; DFPS Child Care
  • West Education Center: 1235 Enrique M. Barrera Memorial Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78227; 210-206-2900

Find more information about local early childhood education centers in our guide, San Antonio Charter Schools Pre-K Options and Resources.

Classroom at Pre-K 4 SA North Education Center on January 24, 2018 prek4sa

Classroom at Pre-K 4 SA North Education Center on January 24, 2018

Enroll at Pre-K 4 SA

Families can apply online or call 210-206-PREK (7735) to enroll their children. Each year, the application timeline starts on February 1 for families to enroll their children in the upcoming school year. Spots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Starting on the first Monday in February, families whose children are accepted begin receiving notifications by email. More waves of emails will go out each Monday until all the slots at the centers are full.

To enroll their children, families need to meet certain eligibility requirements. You can find more information in the FAQs, but here are some key points:

  • Pre-K 4 SA is for four year olds. To be eligible, students must turn four by September 1 of the year they will be attending the program.
  • To attend for free, families need to meet the eligibility requirements. They must live in the City of San Antonio or its extraterritorial jurisdiction. Also, they must live in one of the participating school districts—East Central ISD, Edgewood ISD, Harlandale ISD, North East ISD, Northside ISD, San Antonio ISD, South San Antonio ISD, and Southwest ISD—or enroll their children through New Frontiers Public Schools, a participating charter school. In addition, they must meet Texas Education Agency (TEA) requirements for free public school prekindergarten.
  • Families who don’t meet the eligibility requirements to attend for free can enroll their children in Pre-K 4 SA through the sliding scale tuition program, with monthly payments based on family income and household size. Ten percent of seats are reserved for tuition paying students.

As we are all aware, many things are different in the 2020–21 school year. In a typical year, seats fill quickly, but this year, even though the school year has started, the online application is still open. Another change this year is that they are offering two tracks, one for remote learning and one for in-person learning.

If you are looking ahead to the 2021–22 school year, you can sign up for the interest list to get email updates and to learn about events like tours and open houses. We also recommend following them on social media and joining the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook.

Garden at Pre-K 4 SA North Education Center on January 24, 2018 prek4sa

Garden at Pre-K 4 SA North Education Center on January 24, 2018

Facts About Pre-K 4 SA

The education centers are full of joy and play, but they are also calm and soothing. Behind the scenes, a lot of research and preparation goes into making the students’ explorations meaningful and creating a long term impact on San Antonio’s workforce development.

Early childhood education is important, but sometimes families face obstacles to access. Pre-K 4 SA strives to be welcoming by providing free transportation to and from the centers at depots across town. The special buses have seats designed for young children, including five point safety harnesses.

The school day starts at 8:00 AM and ends at 3:00 PM. Early drop off begins at 7:20 AM, and families can pick up their children as early as 2:45 PM. For working families, there is an extended day program from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

The program supports healthy eating. Students eat free daily breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. All of the centers are peanut free. Meals with meat may include chicken or turkey, but not pork or beef; special meals (e.g., gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian) are also available.

All of the centers offer services for parents, such as Parent Cafés that provide space for parents on campus, and Parents as Partners groups to welcome families as leaders and advocates.

Pre-K 4 SA is preparing young children to be part of the transformation of a world-class workforce in San Antonio within a generation. The program has a direct benefit for the 2,000 four-year-old students who attend prekindergarten at the centers each year, and has broader impacts on the early childhood education centers that receive grants and the teachers who receive professional development and training. If this sounds like a good opportunity for your family, we recommend that you apply online. Even if your children are not eligible, please help spread the word about how Pre-K 4 SA is strengthening the next generation of San Antonio citizens.

Classroom at Pre-K 4 SA North Education Center on January 24, 2018 prek4sa

Classroom at Pre-K 4 SA North Education Center on January 24, 2018

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Dr. Sarah Baray, CEO of Pre-K 4 SA, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on October 1, 2020 at 4 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Dr. Baray joined in 2016 bringing more than 25 years of education experience to the program. Before joining, Dr. Baray was a professor at Texas State University where she directed the Ph.D. in School Improvement program and served as a researcher and instructor in the Educational and Community Leadership program. Prior to Texas State, Dr. Baray worked in the Austin Independent School District, serving in various roles including teacher, principal, and district administrator.

Dr. Baray holds a Ph.D. in Executive Public School Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin, where she also earned Master of Education and Bachelor of Science degrees. Her research interests center on policies and practices related to educational equity. As a scholar-practitioner, Dr. Baray utilizes research to inform practice, particularly as it relates to the role of high-quality early learning in educational outcomes. Dr. Baray has authored dozens of articles and book chapters and provided extensive professional development to help educators become more culturally responsive.

Dr. Baray enjoys living along the river in the heart of San Antonio and is active in the community. She serves on the boards of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas and the UP Partnership. Dr. Baray is married to Ray Baray, a native of San Antonio. Their daughter attends American University in Washington, D.C.

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A nonprofit that helps parents to research school options and become advocates for high quality education.

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