For over 24 years, PreSchool Partners has been providing a quality early education that would be out of reach for most underserved families of Birmingham. The program was founded on the belief that every child deserves a quality preschool education, whether his/her family can afford to pay for it or not. For the 2018-19 school year, we have expanded to serve 201 people: 102 children, and 102 parents. We target the Woodlawn and North Birmingham neighborhoods, areas that are considered at risk and under-served. However, we have seen an increase in 4K classrooms in these target areas, so we are starting to serve more families in other areas of Birmingham, with a large concentration in Centerpoint. We provide a highly structured learning environment for our two, three, and four-year-old students every Monday through Friday during the school year, ensuring that they will start kindergarten ahead of the game, rather than behind.
PreSchool Partners, a 501c3 organization, was founded at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in 1995 as a response to the need for parental participation and preparation of school-age children from families living in at-risk neighborhoods in Birmingham.
We provide a highly structured learning environment for our two, three and four-year-old students equipping them with the skills needed for a successful start in kindergarten, so they are able to start school ahead rather than behind. We offer activities that teach number, letter, shape, and color recognition, rhyming and beginning sounds, as well as classroom behavior and social skills. The children receive over 1,000 hours of instruction during the year. We have two highly qualified teachers in every classroom and classes are kept small so that each child receives individualized attention. The children also have enrichment activities that include tennis, music, gymnastics, and soccer. Students take field trips to the Birmingham Zoo and McWane Science Center and attend two performances by the Birmingham Children’s Theater. Our goal is to expose the children to experiences that might not be available to them otherwise.PreSchool Partners also provides vital health screenings for its students so that any deficiencies may be detected and treated before the child begins kindergarten, which helps to remove barriers to learning. These screenings include vision, hearing, dental, speech, and language. We help the parents obtain the services needed to treat any problems found during the screenings so that treatment can begin before the child starts school. We also provide speech therapy on site to the children who fail the speech screening.
At PreSchool Partners, we know that parental involvement is crucial to a child’s success in school. The National Education Association reports that the earlier parent involvement begins, the more powerful the effects. That’s why including the parents in our program is so important. Our program provides greatly reduced tuition to families if they participate in our Parent Program, which 95% of the parents elect to do. The parents in our program receive over 60 hours of parenting classes a year. We train the parents on ways to support their child’s educational process while also offering them opportunities to improve their parenting and life skills. The parents hear from professionals on a variety of subjects such as stress and anger management, nutrition, child development, and money management. PreSchool Partners also has a very successful family literacy program called “Families Reading Together” that takes place during the weekly parenting classes. The parents’ weekly participation serves to introduce them to other mothers and fathers, as well as community support agencies. This helps to foster a strengthening of not only their parenting skills but also a community feeling that will allow them to make their homes and neighborhoods a better place for their children and themselves.