WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Williamsville Central School District is now helping its’ youngest students, with Universal Pre-K.

“Universal Pre-K is certainly unique and that is learning with play and our teachers are well equipped to bring students through and wonderful and enriching experience through playing and learning through play,” said Andrew Bowen, Principal of Country Parkway Elementary.

There will be four UPK classes in the district, two at Country Parkway Elementary and two at Forest Elementary.

Parents say it is a great opportunity to not only get their kids ready for school, but for them to learn how to socialize through play.

“At this age for them, i think it’s more important for them to explore through play and work on their fine motor skills,” said parent, Stacie Albuez.  “Playing with toys as opposed to writing all the time.”

UPK is a free program and this is the first time the district is offering it to students and families.

“It’s really important for students to talk to one another and learn to interact and play appropriately and socialize with one another, problem solve and hopefully conflict resolution,” said UPK teacher, Danielle Biekert.

There will be 20 students in each classroom, a teacher and two teacher’s aides.

“It’s really important to get kids used to school, what it’s like, have a lot of fun and start to support them socially and emotionally,” said Forest Elementary principal, Keith Wing.  “It’s just a great opportunity for students and families.”

Gabrielle Mediak is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.