First Class: Alabama's Voluntary Pre-K is part of the Office of School Readiness within our department. First Class Pre-K provides effective, high quality early childhood experiences that prepare Alabama's children for school success and lifelong learning.
Office of School Readiness defines school readiness as a condition whereby children enter school with:
• an enthusiasm for learning,
• an ability to function in a a social setting,
• age-appropriate communication and problem solving skills,
• age-appropriate physical and emotional skills, and
• optimal health.
Why High-Quality Pre-Kindergarten?
Numerous studies have shown that students who have participated in high-quality pre-kindergarten programs:
• are less likely to repeat a grade, require remedial education, or be placed in special education,
• score higher on achievement tests,
• are more likely to graduate from high-school and go on to college
• get higher paying salaries as adults, and
• are more likely to stay out of prison and off welfare.
All First Class Pre-K Programs are required to adhere to DHR Minimum Standards for playground safety, but NAEYC Guidelines are recommended .
In addition, the following resources may prove useful when considering the development and design of the outdoor play space for pre-K children. These resources refer to best practices, developmentally appropriate materials, safety requirements, etc.
Department of Human Resources (DHR) Minimum Standards
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
Public Playground Safety Handbook
Community Investment Collaborative for Kids Resource Guide
United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
First Class Pre-K Across the State of Alabama in 8 Regions
Click the map below to view the First Class Pre-K classrooms