Venerable day-care may close

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 22, 2003

One of the oldest day-care centers in Selma is very close to becoming extinct. Knox Kindergarten, which is headed by the Reform Presbyterian Church, will likely close its doors for the final time if enrollment does not increase.

The Rev. Ralph Joseph, church pastor and director of the day-care, said the center needs 11 full-time children to keep it financially afloat.

Knox Kindergarten was established in 1942 by civil rights activist Dr. Claude C. Brown during the days of segregation, when he discovered a need for schools for young black children.

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The tuition-supported school managed to survive for several years after desegregation allowed black students to attend kindergarten classes at public schools.

Today, Knox Kindergarten serves children aged 2-5.

While it fits under the umbrella of the Reform Presbyterian Church, the center is financially independent and has its own board of directors.

This independence allows Knox Kindergarten to accept children from all races, religions and creeds.

According to Joseph the day-care center’s gradual decline is due to competition from free programs and an increase in home day-care centers.

The current tuition rate at the day-care center is $200 a month for a full day of care and $100 for half days.

Seven students remain at Knox Kindergarten, with a couple of them enrolled for half days.

Teachers Sandy Joseph and Karrie Jones spend most of their working hours trying to ensure the children receive a well-rounded education.

Each fall they teach the children about colors, shapes, senses and dates. The spring brings the children the alphabet, numbers, and memorizing their addresses.

Joseph said he is considering accepting subsidies from the Department of Human Resources next year in order to offer free services for some families, but that decision has not been finalized.