April 12, 2013
Students from the YWCA Central Alabama Pre-K program were part of a demonstration for members of the Jefferson County area state legislative delegation which showcased hands-on math, science and technology activities.
“We were glad to host this press conference to encourage the public and legislature to get behind increased funding for Alabama’s Pre-K,” said Suzanne Durham, YWCA CEO. “All of this state’s children are our children.”
The press conference showcased how 4 year olds in Alabama’s high-quality, voluntary Pre-K program learn foundational academic concepts through intentional, developmentally appropriate play. People in attendance watched our young engineers work on building ramps which is often identified as a precursor to engineering thinking.
To build their structures, the children used plans that they created days before the press conference and improved upon their designs as they tested out their ideas. Observers watched as the teachers asked questions to scaffold the children’s thought process, and as the children experimented, they made mistakes and tried again.
“Our teachers take advantage of activities to nurture young children’s developing ideas,” says Delyne Hicks, Senior Director of Child Care Services. “You can see our children creating, solving problems, experimenting, testing, adapting and collaborating.”
The YWCA Central Alabama’s Child Development Center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals. Less than 8 percent of child care centers in the nation are accredited.
The YWCA Pre-K classroom is part of Alabama’s high-quality, state-funded voluntary First Class Pre-K program. The YWCA is also one of PNC’s partner organizations who received a grant through Grow up Great, the PNC Foundation’s $350 million, multi-year initiative to enhance science, math and art instruction for preschool students.
Despite Alabama being recognized by the National institute for Early Education Research as the nation’s highest-quality state-funded Pre-K program, First Class Pre-K reaches only 6 percent of Alabama’s eligible 4 year olds due to limited resources. Members of the Alabama Legislature are expected to consider a proposal from Governor Bentley to invest an additional $12.5 million to expand First Class so that more of the state’s 4 year olds can attend next fall. The initial funding request is part of a statewide campaign launched in November 2012 by the Alabama School Readiness Alliance to fully fund First Class Pre-K over the next decade while maintaining the program’s nationally-recognized quality.
The YWCA Central Alabama would like to say thank you to PNC who recently announced continued funding for our TUMS – Teaching Under Math and Science – Program. We would also like to say thank you to our partners, United Way, JCCEO Head Start and Alabama School Readiness Alliance (ASRA). To learn more about the YWCA Pre-K program or to donate click here.