BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Governor Kay Ivey has announced thousands of young children in Alabama will now have a chance to build a strong educational foundation this fall, thanks to the Alabama First Class Pre-K Program.
Governor Ivey’s office said 22,500 Pre-K students in Alabama will benefit from this program.
Governor Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Education made the announcement Tuesday, saying Alabama First Class will add 55 new classrooms in 25 counties this fall.
Jefferson County is among those counties, and will receive three new classrooms.
That means 54 new students will be able to attend Pre-K.
Kelly West is a federal Pre-K program specialist for Jefferson County.
She said program grants were written to change communities which are typically underserved for Pre-K, or have a high free and reduced-lunch count.
West said for many students, this is the only access 4-year-olds in Alabama have for a quality Pre-K program, which is essential for their development.
“That’s why these quality Pre-Ks are so important to teach the whole child,” West said.
“Their social-emotional, their fine-motor skills, their gross-motor skills, things that kindergarten teachers teach, but they focus more now on academics,” West explained.
“The brain research shows that a child’s brain is developed, 95% of their brain is developed by age 5. If we don’t catch them early, we miss a lot of brain development, crucial brain development, so that’s why Pre-K is so, so important,” West said.
This measure moves the state closer to reaching its of goal of 40,000 Pre-K students in the state of Alabama.
And if you’re wondering how students are enrolled, it’s done through a drawing.
So, if you live in Bagley, Chalkville or Bryant Park, you can apply, as long as your child will be 4-years-old, on or before September 1st.