Tuscaloosa Pre-K
Based upon the belief that the development and education of all children from the earliest stages of their lives must be an absolute public priority, the mission of the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative is to identify all four year old children in the City of Tuscaloosa who are deemed academically at-risk and are not currently being served through other programs, and provide to them and to their families the best health and education services possible, including comprehensive family enrichment services.

Strategy

Through a visionary collaboration between the City of Tuscaloosa, The University of Alabama and members of the Tuscaloosa business community, the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative will engage city school system administrators and educators, as well as UA faculty, staff and students, to offer the best health and education services possible for academically at-risk children and their families.

Comprehensive services to be offered include an expanded nine-month full-day Pre-K program; a five-week Jump Start summer term for children preparing to enter kindergarten; comprehensive family services and support programs; and research conducted in prevention, intervention and education in early childhood development.

Presently, more than 250 at-risk preschool students are being served by the Tuscaloosa City Schools Pre-K program, while additional children are being served by other Pre-K providers (Head Starts, private day cares, etc.).  Currently the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative consists of 21 Pre-K classroom units across nine Tuscaloosa City elementary schools.

UA/Pre-K Partnership

The UA/Pre-K Partnership will focus the University’s resources and capacity—campus wide, across all departments and disciplines—on collaborative and effective relationships with the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative.  This visionary partnership consists of high quality, comprehensive programming that focuses on the development of the child, his or her family, and the participating undergraduate and graduate students.

1. Work-study Student Interns

The Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative will participate in the Federal Work-study awards program.  As part of the Federal Work-study program, students are paid for their service to the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative.  Work-study students are expected to serve at least ten (10) hours per week during the School Year, from September through early May.  Weekly requirements include at least ten (10) hours spent working in a Pre-K classroom during the regular school day. During this time, interns work one-on-one or one-on-two with young children in the Pre-K session.  Work-study interns arrange these hours in coordination with the UA Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative coordinator.

2. Service Learning Course Student Volunteers

Multiple courses across disciplines entail service requirements which may be met through service at Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative sites.  UA students are paired with preschool children for one-to-one support in school readiness skills.

UA service-learning opportunities are in association with courses from the following departments and/or disciplines:

  1. College of Nursing
  2. School of Social Work
  3. Department of Modern Languages
  4. Art Department
  5. Music Department
  6. Speech and Hearing Center
  7. Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility

3. Non-Course Student Volunteers

Student volunteers from UA will be paired with preschool children for one-to-one support in school readiness skills.  On-site training will be provided by Pre-K teachers.

4. Tuscaloosa Jump Start Summer Volunteer

Jump Start Volunteers will serve Pre-K classrooms during the United Way’s Summer Jump Start program which is a five-week, half-day prelude to kindergarten for children who have little or no preschool experience.  College students of all disciplines are invited to apply for this opportunity.

 

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