Education Matters: Free preschool eligibility

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) If you have a child who turned 3 this year or maybe even a four year old, and they're your first child, you might not know how to get them ready for school.

In this weeks Education Matters, Kim Self who is the District 51 Director of Early Childhood talks about registration for pre-school.

So if you're thinking about pre-school

"It will change their trajectory of learning by third grade," said Self. "The brain is still developing, really zero to age six is really the most important years of a preschoolers life," she added.

It also get's really expensive.

"I've heard like the average is at least 500 dollars a month," Self said.

There is a way to bring that cost down.

"The school district preschool and head start are the only two eligibility programs where you can go to preschool free of charge," said Self.

District 51 has about about 500 spots for kids who could qualify.

"It's a half a day program, so we have a morning class for three hours and an afternoon class for three hours," Self said.

If you apply and qualify you could get some choice as to where you child could go.

"There's no transportation, you have to figure out childcare and some of those other logistics," added Self.

It could be your neighborhood or one closer to where you work.

"Preschool is starting August 25," said Self. "They learn how to interact with their peers, they learn how to share, they learn how to be in a group setting," she added.

It's fun and games and a lot of learning for the kids.

"I know a lot of families worry about the alphabet or literacy in math and those are two very important components," Self said.

Spending 15 minutes on the application for the program could mean a better, more affordable education for the kids.

"And then there's a screening, a developmental screening, because we like to see how each child is doing with their language, their early literacy in math. Their cognitive development, their motor development, their socio-emotional development," she said.

There is no deadline for applications. They will continue to accept kids who qualify leading up to Spring Break in 2018 if room opens up for them.

They believe some preschool is better then none.