FOLEY, Ala. — State officials and education leaders descended on Heaven Sent Learning Center in Foley to celebrate the facility’s inclusion in Alabama’s efforts to expand eight voluntary pre-K classrooms in Baldwin and Mobile …
FOLEY, Ala. — State officials and education leaders descended on Heaven Sent Learning Center in Foley to celebrate the facility’s inclusion in Alabama’s efforts to expand eight voluntary pre-K classrooms in Baldwin and Mobile counties.
Funding for the new classrooms was made possible because of the Alabama State Legislature’s approval of the largest single-year increase in funding for the state-based, voluntary First Class Pre-K program since the program began in 2000. The $28.5 million appropriation for fiscal year 2014, which was a $9.4 million increase over 2013, helped create 93 new high-quality First Class Pre-K classrooms statewide. As a result 1,670 additional 4-year-olds are able participate in the program this year that otherwise would not have had access to high-quality pre-K.
Among those on hand for the celebration included Sen. Tripp Pittman and Rep. Steve McMillan, who pointed out the benefit of early education for students.
“This puts them a year ahead of other students,” McMillan said.
”Eighty-five percent of a child’s intellect, personality and skills are developed by age 5,” Pittman said.
However, Pittman said the results of this expansion hinges on what happens in the home.
“The success of this is dependent on the parents and grandparents,” he said, “to make sure children are engaged and stay engaged.”
The funding has enabled Heavenly Sent to expand offers to its 18 students.
“This is an excellent model of what we hope all of the pre-Ks should be,” said Jeana Ross of Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs.