The importance of Alabama expanding Pre-K classrooms for upcoming school year

Child development is the foundation for the future health of a community. It has been said “A child who reads becomes an adult who thinks.”  Success of Alabama’s children has been given a tremendous boost with the enrollment of 25 percent of our four-year-olds in quality K-4 programs for this fall. What about the other 75 percent? What about the research that shows the most rapid brain growth in the first 1,000 days of life?  The Early Head Start Program is designed to enroll pregnant women to prepare them for successfully nurturing their newborn and providing the child with enriched experiences for his first three years. Unfortunately only three percent of our nation’s children are enrolled due to lack of funding.

Reach Out and Read is a modest, evidence-based literacy program that can provide the foundation for a life-time love of reading and boost the vocabulary of children growing up in poverty.  It is also a wonderful vehicle for developing a stable, nurturing relationship between the caregiver and a child.

One of my greatest joys as a pediatrician has been sharing a books with thousands of children for 36 years. I love it when I give a six-month old Clifford’s Bedtime and tell the mom, “She is so smart. Watch how she explores that book by taking it in her hands and chewing on it.” Without fail, the mother smiles.
— Marsha Raulerson, MD, FAAP

I have been very fortunate to have the generous support of my community so that every child gets a book at every visit. We have also been able to extend the program to older children and sometimes even to a parent who requests a book. My patients have heard this over and over ~ "If you can read, you can do anything.”

Read more about the expansion of Alabama's PreK classrooms here.