Martin: Lessons from childhood stay with us

Published 9:54 pm Thursday, September 28, 2017

By Jerria Martin | Martin is a minister and director of Drug Free Communities of Dallas County

“Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” “I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas,” “The Alphabet Song,” and a host of other catchy and instructional tunes were my most favorite part about Pre-K.

These are the songs I’ve carried with me throughout my life and continue to use today.

Believe it or not, I’ve used the lyrics to “The More We Get Together,” as a benediction in several services at churches from New York to Jerusalem, to unify the congregations, reminding them of the power of coming together and making new friends.

Isn’t it amazing how one little song from Pre-K can make such a huge impact? The sing-alongs were not the only joys of Pre-K for me; the engaging and supportive atmosphere the instructors provided was nothing short of inspirational.

Thinking of the environment at the Grist YMCA’s Pre-K program, that I had the pleasure of attending back in the mid-90s, I recall the patience and nurturing care I received from Mrs. Norton and the other teachers.

My experiences with them prepared me for the successes I’ve achieved so far in life. Early childhood education is important.

Students who attend Pre-K enter kindergarten with confidence and social, emotional and academic skills that give them a head start in school. Public investment in Pre-K has surged because of research showing how critical the early years are for later success in school and life.

Currently, the federal government, along with 42 states and the District of Columbia, spend about $37 billion a year on early childhood programs, mostly targeting low-income 3 to 5 year-olds.

Alabama happens to be one of those states. As a matter of fact, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education recently awarded the Dallas County Children’s Policy Council with a First Class Pre-K Grant, which is allowing them to collaborate with a local church.

They’ve hired the best educators, ordered top-notch educational tools and now the next generation of Selma’s leaders are being groomed and nurtured in the freshly renovated basement of Blue Jean Church.

Do you have a 4 year old who is on a waiting list or is not currently enrolled in a Pre-K Class?  If so, Blue Jean Pre-K has a few spots left. This program is free of charge to all participants. For more information, call (334) 219-1815.

Enrolling your child in a Pre-K program is one of the best things you can do for their academic growth. Don’t let this awesome opportunity pass your child by, they will thank you for it late, because there is motivational, empowering and awe-inspiring hope in early childhood education.