Pushing for Public Pre-K

The education arm of the Bold Goals Coalition is making a big push to make sure every child in Central Alabama who needs access to public Pre-K will have it. Our Early Learning Action Network (ELAN) will launch its latest Pre-K support effort in September with a kickoff event at Childcare Resources. ELAN brings together a host of organizations to provide comprehensive support to childcare centers looking to heighten the quality of their programs, staff and facilities to the level that will qualify them to receive state funding in order to offer Alabama’s First Class Pre-K education to local children.

Pre-K advocates celebrate the opening of Trinity Love Center’s state-funded Pre-K classroom with LaTonya Bender.

To date, ELAN has helped 11 childcare centers in our area raise their standards to earn First Class Pre-K status. As a result, 198 more children now have access to the highest quality Pre-K in the nation – right in their own neighborhoods, year after year. One great example is the Trinity Love Center, which worked with ELAN for several years and celebrated the opening of its state-funded Pre-K classroom in downtown Bessemer on August 1st.

As sustainable state funding continues to grow and becomes more available, we know that now is the time to push for more and more area children to have access to public Pre-K. Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program has well-documented – and quite remarkable – long-term benefits for children, and every child deserves the opportunity to be fully prepared for learning and personal growth.

Due to overwhelming demand, registration was closed just two weeks after this event was announced.

We also know that our local childcare centers are ready to make this push, as well. While most of ELAN’s work has been in Jefferson County thus far, we’ve now expanded the network’s reach to include our entire five-county region, and the response has been overwhelming. In fact, registration for the September kickoff event for interested childcare centers reached capacity in just two weeks!

The future of First Class Pre-K in Central Alabama is bright. And we’re going to continue our focus on making sure that all of our community’s children will soon have access to high-quality early learning and the foundation they need for a balanced, successful life.

The Bold Goals Coalition is 200 organizations solving big community problems by aligning partners, resources and agendas.