Alabama Power funds pre-K classes

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By Sarrah Peters/News Editor

Alabama Power Foundation presented two Etowah County schools with grants Wednesday, Sept. 10.

Highlands Elementary and Attalla Elementary both received $10,000 grants from Alabama Power Foundation, who partnered with the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs, as part of the Brighter Minds education initiative. 

The grants, given to help support early education programs in the state, aim to strengthen the schools’ pre-K programs, and subsequently all aspects of a child’s educational experience.

“For us, it is a partnership and a commitment to these kids and the community,” said Steve Hildebrant, Alabama Power’s Eastern Division Area Manager. “From what I’ve seen, kids come to school and they aren’t necessarily prepared, and that is what the pre-K program is for.”

According to the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs, developmentally appropriate pre-K classrooms, including proper materials, is the key to having a quality pre-K program. 

According to the Alabama First Class Pre-K Program, having a sufficient amount of the age-appropriate materials, and an environment that gives the children expectations to fulfill, like responsibilities and routines, creates a positive and successful learning environment.

Thanks to the grants, Attalla Principal Greg Edge feels like their pre-K program is now better than ever before.

“There are a lot of preschools around, but this one is very high quality, at a minimal cost to parents,” said Edge. “We feed the kids breakfast, lunch and snacks.”

Edge is also confident in how the kids are taught the fundamentals needed for school.

“It’s [the pre-K classroom is] the happiest place in the school,” said Edge, while the children sang a song about numbers. “They build social skills and learn while they play.”

The First Class Program, nationally recognized for meeting all the high quality standards of pre-K classrooms for the last eight years by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), is administered by the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs. The program funds diverse classrooms through competitive grants. The program functions in every county in Alabama. Approximately 12 percent of the state’s four year olds participate in the First Class Pre-K Program’s classrooms.

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