Alabaster daycare celebrates first pre-K class
Published 4:47 pm Thursday, September 24, 2015
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – The five 4-year-old children gathered around Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon listened intently as Handlon read the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham.”
“Would you eat green eggs and ham?” Handlon asked the students, garnering a mixture of “yes” and “no” answers.
Handlon and several other local educators and parents gathered at Alabaster’s Young Impressions Childcare on the afternoon of Sept. 24 to read books aloud to the 18 students who are part of the daycare’s first-ever pre-kindergarten class.
The event was designed to increase the children’s reading comprehension, ability and self-confidence, but it also served to celebrate something greater.
In August, Young Impressions, which is off Seventh Street Southwest, began the pre-K program after it applied for and was selected by the state’s First Class Pre-Kindergarten Program.
“It’s a grant-writing process, and it’s very competitive,” said Young Impressions Director Yoko Brown, who also operates a Young Impressions Childcare in Calera. “We had to go through a process before we even applied to make sure we met all the criteria.”
During the application process, Young Impressions was supported by Shelby County Juvenile Court Judge Jim Kramer and Handlon, and the program has proven popular in the community.
“We have 18 students in the class now, and 22 on the waitlist,” Brown said.
During the class, which is led by certified educator Tory Worthey, children learn everything from music and how to express their feelings to gardening and math. Each day includes breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack, outdoor recreation time, naptime and more.
A “job chart” assigns tasks to each child in the class – such as door holder, computer helper and pet caretaker – to teach them the value of teamwork. Everything about the class is designed to prepare the students for the next level of education.
“This prepares them for the real world and for the next step in their education,” Worthey said. “We teach them that there are rules in the classroom, and those become laws once they get to the real world.”