School & District Management

Business Assistance Aimed at Boosting Pre-K in Alabama

By Linda Jacobson — January 29, 2008 1 min read

One of the nation’s most highly rated state-financed pre-K programs is getting help from the business community to help more families learn about it.

The Alabama Power Foundation has awarded $30,000 to the Alabama School Readiness Alliance—a coalition of early-childhood organizations—to help promote the state’s prekindergarten program and to lobby the state legislature for more money.

An annual report on state pre-K efforts from the New Brunswick, N.J.-based National Institute for Early Education Research gives Alabama’s program a perfect 10 on quality measures. But access to the program, which began in 2000, is limited, and only 2 percent—or about 1,000—of the state’s 4-year-olds participate.

Gov. Bob Riley, a Republican, has made expansion of the program a top priority for fiscal 2009, with a $30 million proposal that would bring enrollment to 7,600 children in 400 sites.

Simple Is Best in Promoting Pre-K Activity, Study Finds

Preschoolers are more active for longer periods of time when their child-care centers provide portable play materials, such as jump-ropes, balls, and riding toys, a study shows.

Permanent structures, such as slides and climbing equipment, were associated with less-intense physical activity, according to the study, which was conducted by researchers from the school of public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The research, which involved 20 child-care centers across North Carolina, was intended to look at the environmental factors that influence children’s weight.

Teacher and staff-member training on how to encourage exercise was also linked to less-sedentary activity among children.

Surprisingly, the presence of computers and TVs was also associated with higher activity levels. The researchers suggested that providers with enough money to buy electronic equipment were also likely to have money for other equipment and training as well.

The study, which appears in the January issue of the AmericanJournal of Preventive Medicine is available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/07493797.

A version of this article appeared in the January 30, 2008 edition of Education Week

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