OPELIKA, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education are adding 164 new Alabama First Class Pre-K program classrooms to 38 counties this fall. Lee County is on the list, with two pre-k classrooms opening in Opelika.
The Opelika First Class Pre-K Academy, a product of Envision Opelika, will house two First Class Pre-K classrooms serving a total of 36 children.
“This is with the Alabama First Class Pre-K grant money through the office of school readiness for the state of Alabama,” said educator Laura Lambert. “I’ve had experience with this program before and I just think it’s wonderful, because it develops the whole child and not just the intellectual child.”
Opelika First Class Pre-K Academy Director Cindy Conway says they’ve been looking at statistics and meeting with parents and this is something that was greatly needed in this community.
“Demographically speaking, we have 412 4-year-olds in Lee County that qualify for pre-k, and Opelika City schools had none. They did away with their pre-k program a couple of years ago, and so we wanted to offer them a pre-k experience because it’s so incredibly important,” Conway said.
Both classes are now full, and there is a waiting list.
“There’s so many kids that need the foundation skills that they’re not getting anywhere else in order to kindergarten and that became my goal, to make sure that every child in Opelika would have access to that,” said educator Wendy Overstreet.
Opelika City Schools discontinued its pre-k services in 2015.
The pre-k classes will start on Aug. 15. The Opelika First Class Pre-K Academy has launched a fundraising campaign to help with capital expenses and matching funds required for the state grant.