New Pre-K needs applications as soon as possible

Published 8:32 pm Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Alabama Children’s Policy Council in Selma has recently been awarded a grant to have a First Class Pre-K program.

Originally, they were turned down for the grant in early June. But last week, they were told that the Department of Early Childhood Education had money left and decided to fund the program in Selma and award them with a grant.

“We’re scrambling trying to get it open Sept. 1,” said District Judge Bob Armstrong, who serves as the chairman of the council.

Blue Jean Church offered to host the program there, and is in the process of getting a classroom ready. They are renovating the kitchen, adding air conditioning, painting and working to build a playground.

Armstrong said the school with have a certified teacher and teacher’s aid.

The pre-K program is open only to 4 year olds who are not currently enrolled in a pre-K program, and Armstrong said they are focusing on the children who reside in East Selma.

“Our plan and our focus is to impact East Selma and the economically depressed areas of our community,” Armstrong said. “Blue Jean wants to partner as part of our ministry, but the policy council, we want to affect outcomes for children that are underserved and are at risk. We want to give them a leg up with school.”

Armstrong said he believes it may take years, but giving children an early start to their education is a key factor in how they progress through school.

“It may take years to see the full impact of it,” Armstrong said. “When a child doesn’t know their numbers and letters, and they walk into a classroom with kids that do, they’re already behind. It’s a harder hill for them to climb educationally. But if you can get them at 4 years old and get them going, then by the time they go to Kindergarten, everybody is on the same playing field.”

Classes are set to begin Sept. 1 and will be from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To have the program, 18 children need to sign up. They are hoping to have applications in by Aug. 14 with a random selection Aug. 15.

Armstrong said applications can be filled out online at http://alpreK.education/A or at the Selma and Dallas County Public Library.