The new More at Four program at Battleground Elementary School needs additional students and a space in which to teach them.
â€œThe big thing right now is just being sure that parents are aware of the program,â€ said Victoria Walker, principal of Battleground.
â€œWe canâ€™t accept more than 18 children, but we would like to fill all the spaces.â€
More at Four is a pre-kindergarten program that concentrates on at-risk four-year-olds.
Children are accepted into the program based largely on their parentâ€™s income levels.
Students who have other factors that might inhibit learning such as health risks or a lack of English proficiency are also accepted into the program.
Throughout the year, students learn literacy skills such as reading left to right and sounding out letters.
They also focus on counting, identifying patterns and developing fine motor skills and problem solving skills.
â€œThe more we can do with them early on, the stronger students can be as they grow and mature,â€ said Walker.
Battleground has no room in its building for an additional classroom. Officials are currently considering renting a building close to the school.
If that facility is not deemed acceptable for a pre-school classroom, the students will be educated at G.E. Massey Elementary School, five minutes down the road.
The schoolâ€™s principal, Sandy Johnson, is more than willing to house an additional More at Four class in her school.
Johnson has already been through two years with a More at Four program serving students in her district.
Children in the program have observed ant farms, plants and butterflies. They have listened to literature, sang and checked out books.
â€œThe children just absolutely learned through play,â€ said Johnson. â€œItâ€™s very developmentally appropriate.â€
G.E. Massey received 35 applications from parents in the schoolâ€™s district this summer for the 18 child class.
â€œThe first year it was very different,â€ said Johnson. â€œWhen we started in November, we were hunting kids all year long to keep those spots filled.â€
If all the spaces in the program arenâ€™t filled, the schools lose some funding.
â€œThe group this year, they stayed put,â€ said Johnson. â€œParents really wanted their children in the program.â€
A teacher assistant has already been hired for the Battleground program, and a teacher is waiting to be approved by the Board of Education.
Battleground currently has six children enrolled in the program.
Parents can apply to have their students accepted into More at Four by going to Battleground and picking up an application or calling 704-735-3146.by Sarah Grano