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Jemison preschool program a success

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

Jemison Elementary’s preschool program has been a great success. Registration will begin soon for next year.

The first semester of the First Class Pre-K went very well, according to school officials and teachers.

“It’s been a really great program for us so far,” Assistant Principal Meghan Owens said. “We saw an overwhelming amount of people in the community that wanted to be in our program … This year we’re applying for more classes and hope to get three to four at least for next year.”

Owens said the school would start taking applications March 1 for next year’s preschool program.

This year’s program has already impressed the teachers of the class.

“Everything is moving along like it’s supposed to be,” teacher Brandy Williams said. “They’re actually doing very well compared to a lot of other pre-k classes that have been around. They’re doing awesome.”

Williams has taught preschool in Alabaster and worked at a daycare in Montevallo. She said the program at Jemison has more freedom for the students to try different things and rotate learning stations more often.

“It’s not so structured like it used to be,” Williams said. “They’re transferring from one thing to another. If there’s another opening in another center, they switch.”

The curriculum the class uses is part of a broader movement in the state toward less structured class time. According to Williams, there is an ongoing discussion about moving this style of learning up through third grade.

Williams said there is still structure in making sure the children stay on track in their learning. The teachers show the students how to do the activities at each center and then back away to let them learn and to keep an eye on the class.

Williams and Sibyl Sawtelle teach the class together.

“We really need two in a class of that many pre-k kids,” Williams said. “We need to make sure they’re learning what they should in their centers.”