Pre-K program unexpectedly pops up in Hamblen County

A Hamblen County Elementary School has a new Pre-Kindergarten program that began March 1.
Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten programs enrolling
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 6:33 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Hamblen County Elementary School has a new Pre-Kindergarten program that began March 1. School leaders there and at the Hamblen County Board of Education say it can have a big impact on kids. A call from the Department of Education got the program up and running with almost no warning.

“Pre-K is all play-based. So everything we do is hands-on to help the students engage with our learning,” Fairview-Marguerite Elementary School Pre-K teacher, Joyce King, said, “So they don’t realize they’re learning, but they really are.”

The administration at Fairview-Marguerite had asked the Tennessee Department of Education for a Pre-K program for several years, but didn’t always have room to start one. A couple months ago, the principal, Suzanne Wampler, got a call from the state DOE saying they could get a Pre-K program immediately. They jumped on the opportunity.

Wampler said, “I think it will be well worth it, the future of the kids here.”

In February they furnished the classroom, found Ms. King to teach and filled it with a dozen students knowing they’re helping their kids soar. By March 1 doors opened.

“The foundation that you build in Pre-K where you learn letters and sounds, and not only that like fine motor skills and social skills they get from talking with their peers is really important when they come to Kindergarten,” King said.

The school’s student body is 60% percent Hispanic. Fifty percent of those students receive English language services daily.

“Giving them just that opportunity to start developing those language skills at an early age, it just gives them a benefit for when they do get to Kindergarten classrooms,” Wampler said.

This Pre-K is based on income and free for students who families meet those qualifications. The school follows the U.S. Health and Human Services Poverty guidelines to qualify the students for this program.

For those families this is free.

You can learn about how to register here or you can go to the Hamblen County Schools Central Office located at 210 East Morris Blvd. in Morristown.

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