Early Head Start celebrates end of school year

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) As many students around the Wiregrass headed back to school Friday, some others were actually ending the school year.

Early Head start in Dothan held its end of the year celebration Friday morning, saying goodbye to what many say was productive school year.

Students and families spent the morning jumping in bouncy houses, learning about farm animals in a petting zoo, getting their faces painted and eating snow cones.

Parents said it was a great way to crown a successful year of teaching and learning.

“Some day cares teach the kids, some day cares don’t teach the kids. [My daughter] is 18 months and she knows some of her ABCs. I can say a letter; she’ll say the next letter. So, they teach them a lot,” Bennett exclaimed.

Early Head Start is provided by the Alfred Saliba Family Services Center.

It’s a federally funded childcare program for children from birth to three-years-old.

For Jowolry Fleming, it’s been a life-saver.

“Because I’m a single mother and raising him, I needed somewhere for him to go so he could learn,” said Fleming.

“He done learned a lot since he’s been here,” Fleming said.
David Jones agreed.

He said his one-year-old daughter, Daya, is growing by leaps and bounds, learning shapes, colors and letters.

But more than that, he said the teachers and staff have made him and his family feel welcomed.

“Immediately they embrace your child. They embrace you as a parent,” said Jones.

“So, as far as I’m concerned, this is just a beautiful place to bring your child,” Jones said.

But education isn’t the only thing on the minds of parents and teachers.
Safety is also of the utmost importance.

“We are licensed by the state,” said Project Director for Early Head Start, Lynn Ivey.

“But we exceed their requirements, as far as health and safety are concerned especially, and their education requirements. So, we are a wonderful opportunity for young children in this city,” Ivey said.
But the day was all about fun.

“They’re interacting with other children and learning to do that before they get into school,” said Carmen Torres.

Her granddaughter, Yanalyn, attended Early Head Start, and she was pleased with what she learned this year.

“So, that way they’re not so shy. So they’ll learn and already have that experience by the time they get in,” Torres said.

Creating lasting memories, and giving students a head start toward succeeding in school and beyond.

The upcoming school year for Early Head Start begins September 3rd.

If you’d like to get your child enrolled, you can stop by their office located at 545 West Main Street in Dothan.

There, you can meet the staff, and fill out an application.

Spots are limited.