Yvonne Stanley says that with help from the United Way of Central Alabama and its Success by 6 initiative, youngsters at her Tarrant childcare center are on the way to becoming school ready.
Stanley, who is the owner and director of the Joshua Learning Tree Academy, says skilled school readiness professionals from Success by 6 are working closely with her staff to provide technical assistance, information about best practices in early learning and innovative ideas to enhance instruction for their students.
Success by 6 specifically targets low-income pre-school children who are most at risk of falling behind academically. The goal is to make sure they master the skills they will need to succeed later in kindergarten.
“Before Success by 6 came to Joshua Learning Tree, we were not structured,” says Stanley. “They came, and they gave us structure and ideas on how to help kids to learn and progress.”
In the United States, 59 percent of 4 year olds are not enrolled in a publicly funded pre-K education program, according to a 2015 U.S. Department of Education report. In Central Alabama alone, only 22 percent of 4 year olds have access to a high-quality, state-funded pre-K education.
But research has shown over the years that children who obtain a pre-K education develop critical pre-academic skills and, as a result, perform better in kindergarten. Research also reveals that those with a pre-K education are more likely to go on to complete high school.
Success by 6 specialists are currently working side-by-side with teachers in pre-K classes in 68 public and private child care centers and Head Start programs in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, St. Clair and Walker counties.
Besides instructional assistance, Success by 6 distributes free books to young children to encourage them to read. So far, the program has donated more than 9,100 books to 882 children. Moreover, it donates school supplies children whose parents can’t afford them.
Success by 6 also promotes health and wellness. The program has organized health screenings and connected parents and caregivers with pediatricians, dentists and other support services.
Because of the benefits of Success by 6, Stanley encourages the public to support United Way.
“By donating to United Way,” says Stanley, “it helps me to build a solid foundation for the kids and to prepare them to go to school. It impacts their future.”
To learn more about Success by 6 and other UWCA-sponsored education programs, call 2-1-1 or 888-421-1266. To volunteer, call 205-251-5131. You may also visit their website at www.uwca.org/our-impact/education.