Barbara Cooper is the director of Alabama’s First Class Pre-K. Over the years, it has received tons of recognition from across the country.
Thursday, Cooper joined Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed and Alabama School Readiness Alliance Director Allison Muhlendorf at a Pre-K site here in Montgomery.
Providence Early Childhood Learning Academy is one of more than 1,000 First Class Pre-K classrooms around the state, mostly in public and private schools.
“Our vision for A New Montgomery calls for creating opportunity for everyone in our community – a place where everyone has the freedom to live, learn and earn,” said Mayor Reed. “In doing so, we must invest in programs like this and expand the existing footprint so that all 4-year-old children living in Montgomery County have access to Alabama’s First Class Pre-K.”
At a Thursday news conference, there was encouragement for daycare centers, faith-based programs, and other community care providers to also look into offering the program.
“We want to make sure that our private childcare providers across Montgomery and across the state, as well as with non-profits like the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club, and faith-based church preschool providers – the places that are already serving children, that they apply for First Class Pre-K grants,” said Muhlendorf.
The Alabama School Readiness Alliance encourages those groups interested in offering Pre-K to sign up for a workshop on Feb. 27. It will be held at the Family Guidance Center in Montgomery.
According to Mayor Reed’s office, Alabama’s Pre-K program ranked as the top state-funded program for quality in the country for the 13th consecutive year. The office also stated Alabama is 1 of only 3 other states to meet or exceed all 10 of the benchmarks determining quality.
Gov. Kay Ivey has asked the state legislature for an additional $25 million in funding for Pre-K. The goal is to make the program available to every 4-year-old in the state by 2023.