Alabama eyes expansion of early childhood education programs

Alabama eyes expansion of early childhood education programs (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 7:32 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Historic funding for the state’s education budget, will have a big impact on your little students. Money allocated for the department of early childhood education will be used to expand the state’s first-class Pre-K and childcare programs.

An investment in Pre-K is an investment in the future of Alabama.

That’s the message advocates wanted lawmakers to know and what resulted in $40 million for those first-class Pre-K and child care programs.

“Childcare is not an issue, it is a solution to our education and economic issues in this state,” said Collier Tynes, CEO of VOICES for Alabama Children.

The $40 million allocated to the department of early childhood education is part of the solution to benefit young students.

“It ensures that students are able to walk into kindergarten ready for the demands of the kindergarten through 12th-grade years,” said Barbara Copper, secretary of the Department of Early Childhood Education.

And benefit the state.

“Economists estimate that every dollar invested in quality early childhood education saves $7 down the line,” said Allison Muhlendorf, executive director of Alabama School Readiness Alliance.

“If we have two-thirds of children under five with all their parents in the workforce, we know that we’re going to need quality, affordable, safe childcare, to support children’s education and development,” said Tynes.

By adding 125 first-class Pre-K classes for the August 2022 school year 45% of the state’s 4-year-olds will have access to early learning.

“The stronger a child start, the more likely the stronger they’re going to finish,” said Tynes.

Part of this funding will also go towards childcare programs.

“Between zero to three, a child is in need of a caregiver, constantly to be able to partake in the serve and return process,” said Tynes.

Pre-registration for this fall’s Pre-K programs is open and selection is by a random drawing.

Alabama’s First Class Pre-K is ranked number one in the country for quality.

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