CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Four-year-old Amari Washington is quick to spell out her numbers and letters with a smile on her face.
Washington attends Matilda Dunston Elementary in North Charleston. She's a student of the Charleston County School District's pre-Kindergarten programs, also known as child-development classes.
Washington's mother, Shaniqua Washington, has been more than impressed with her education progress.
"She knows a lot more songs, her vocabulary has increased, and she is learning how to read and she's not even in kindergarten yet," Shaniqua Washington said.
The Charleston County School District is making a big push to get more kids in the school system earlier for a brighter future. District leaders say they are adding eight child development classrooms to seven schools across the Lowcountry.
The new schools are Pepper Hill, Lambs, North Charleston Creative Arts, Charleston Progressive, Springfield, and Whitesides Elementary. The District also has a goal of filling open slots in schools where the Pre-K programs are already in place at Dunston, Garrett, St. James Santee and James Edward School in Edisto.
"We want to make sure all children who participate are ready for kindergarten," said Kimberly Foxworth, CCSD Director of Child Development. "We teach literacy, numeracy, and social emotionally development."
CCSD Child Development Director Kimberly Foxworth says the big goal of the program is for kids to learn through hands-on playing.
Classrooms are broken up into different set areas -- like library, writing, computer, and dramatic play. School officials say that structured playing is showing positive results in putting socialization on the forefront with key interactions with teachers and peers.
"It keeps them focused, it keeps them learning, and it's not just that they watch your children-- they teach your children," Shaniqua Washington said. "Come see for yourself. They don't even have to enroll their kids come see what is going on because seeing is believing."
Enrollment is already open for a Jan. 21, 2014 school start date.
Parents can fill out an application for their kids by submitting an application at a school, calling (843) 628-1131, or heading to the school district's web site by clicking here.