High scores for Alabama’s Pre-K program

Alabama's First Class Pre-K Program Gets National Recognition
Alabama's First Class Pre-K Program Gets National Recognition
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 10:06 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2022 at 1:35 PM CST
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HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program has remained the highest in the country for the last 15 years. The National Institute for Early Education Research says every year for the last 15 Alabama has met all of the benchmarks for things like class size and development.

The First Class Pre-K Program is a state funded voluntary program for 4 year old children born on or before September 1st.

The program is funded by the Education Trust Fund and the Preschool Development Grant through the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (DECE) Office of School Readiness (OSR). In order to receive funds for a First Class Pre-K Classroom, organizations must first complete an online application.

South Shades Crest Elementary School in Hoover has two Pre-K classes. They’ve participated in the program for the last three years. The funding covers some professional development and the classroom supplies.

“They bring all the materials,” said South Shades Crest Elementary School Principal Dr. Kara Scholl. “All the shelves the tables everything. The curriculum. Every thing is developmentally appropriate for a pre-schooler. We get to create the whole environment and after that first year it continues to fund things like the teachers and it continues to do supplemental resources.”

Along with most of the classroom supplies, Dr. Scholl adds students also get extra support.

“We have 18 students in each class and that’s what the grant asks for,” says Dr. Scholl. “Then we have one teacher, our lead teacher, then we have our auxiliary teacher. We also have Mrs. Williams in this class well. She would be like the assistant teacher.”

Anna Graham has taught the Pre-K program since the beginning. Although her students are the youngest, she tries to make sure their schedules are similar to the older children.

“Learn the routine of school,” says Mrs. Graham. “So they come in. They unpack their backpack just like the rest of the school does. They learn how to sit down on the carpet and pay attention and listen to our books that we read. We dance. We have so much fun. And a lot of it is play. So it’s play with purpose.”

Registration is now open for the First Class program.

To apply, visit here.


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