Young Impressions receives increased state grant

Young Impressions Childcare in Alabaster integrates growth in the foundations of academics, as well as in social-emotional, physical and creative areas. (Contributed)

Young Impressions Childcare in Alabaster integrates growth in the foundations of academics, as well as in social-emotional, physical and creative areas. (Contributed)

By SAMANTHA HURST / Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER—Yoko Brown, owner of Young Impressions Childcare in Alabaster, delighted in news earlier this month that Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program has once again named her preschool a certified site.

This means more than a pat on the back from the state.

“I had to explain, through a competitive process, why I needed more assistance,” Brown said. “My concern was there are parents who need help paying for preschool. This is a top preschool program, so who wouldn’t want their kids to be able to participate. Unfortunately, not every parent can afford it.”

Alabama’s First Class program awards grants annually.

In its first year of recognition, Young Impressions received $45,000 to assist with the costs of employing a certified teacher. For the 2016-2017 school year, Young Impressions will receive $88,200 through the annual status review.

Brown said this will allow her to provide financial scholarships to families based on income.

The grant was awarded based on local needs, local demand and assurances of high quality standards at the center. To receive the funds, Brown was required to supplement the grant with a minimum of a 25 percent match of the award.

Brown said while maintaining such high standards takes a lot of effort and money, she’s glad to be running the program.

“I’ve always wanted to be a person who could help a child succeed,” she said. “We just want to make sure we offer a quality education that families can afford.”

Alabama First Class Pre-K is a program aimed at providing children rich learning experiences that significantly impact school achievement. Brown said this means making sure that strong curriculums are used to help a child grow in all areas of their lives. Young Impressions will use High Scope as the curriculum this year. High Scope integrates growth in the foundations of academics, as well as in social-emotional, physical and creative areas, Brown said.

The Alabama Office of School Readiness manages Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program. To learn more, visit children.alabama.gov/first-class/

Young Impressions has two licensed locations; one in Alabaster and one in Calera. The Alabaster location opened in June 2008 and the Calera center opened in December 2014. Young Impressions serves as a daycare and preschool. There are 120 kids total that attend, with 18 of those in the preschool program. Young Impressions employees 13 staff members in all.

To learn more the Young Impressions’ program, visit youngimpressionschildcare.com.