SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education announced on Monday that the state’s First Class Pre-K program will add 107 classrooms to 33 counties this fall.
The new classrooms will expand access to Alabama’s high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten program to 18,864 children in the 2018-2019 school year, with more than 1,040 classrooms in all 67 counties, which will serve 32 percent of eligible 4-year-olds statewide.
This will be the fourth consecutive year Indian Valley Elementary School has been a recipient of First Class Pre-K grant funds. The additional funding will allow them to add a fourth Pre-K class and increase enrollment in the program to serve over sixty Pre-K children.
“Having a strong start to one’s educational journey is critical to having a strong finish when it comes time to enter the workforce,” Governor Ivey said. “Alabama’s voluntary First Class Pre-K program is, without question, the best in the nation. I am proud that we can increase the reach of this important educational opportunity, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to further expand the availability of voluntary Pre-K.”
Jennifer Rosato, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning remarked, “Through research, innovative teachers, and detailed planning, Indian Valley’s Pre-K program is a model facility of early childhood education. Grant funding has helped us equip classrooms with a variety of work and play areas that promote learning and interaction with other children. An age-appropriate playground has been constructed specifically for Pre-K, and children are eating breakfast and lunch in a family-style setting. This early-childhood classroom experience prepares the children both socially and academically for the more focused environment in kindergarten.”
The growth of Pre-K at Indian Valley has stemmed academic opportunities at Sylacauga High School. The Career and Technical Education department this year established a cohort of high school students working to complete the Child Development Associate certification program. These high school students will spend their 10th, 11th, and 12th grade years working with Pre-K as part of their high school curriculum and graduate with certification for career opportunities in early childhood education.
According to research conducted by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, students who participated in First Class Pre-K are more likely to be proficient in reading and math at every grade level, consistent with the results from previous statewide and national studies.