Bryant Schools invited the district’s representatives and senators to visit the PreK/Early Childhood Program as part of Arkansas’ Take Your Legislator to School Month. September is set aside for schools to develop special events that increase awareness of the schools’ achievements and challenges, and foster positive working relationships between school officials, local communities and elected officials.
The event was an opportunity for legislators to observe the exciting and innovative things happening each day in the PreK program and provide students the chance to meet and interact with an elected official. Representative Lanny Fite, Representative Kim Hammer, Representative Andy Davis and Representative Andy Mayberry attended.
PreK director Tara Armstrong provided information about the district’s early childhood program. “We have 120 students currently and we are opening another classroom to add 20 more slots. We still need more classrooms and more seats to serve the parents in our district.”
The PreK program has a lengthy waiting list. Research shows that providing a high-quality education for children before they turn five yields significant long-term benefits. Parents want their children to be part of the district’s program taught by licensed educators and classroom aides.
“Early Childhood screens and, if warranted, provides Special Education services for children ages 3 and above who live in the school district. These services are delivered in childcare centers and preschools,” continued Armstrong.
Additional funding through ABCSS (Arkansas Better Chance for School Success) and CCDF (Child Care and Development Fund) would allow more children to attend and receive services. “If we can invest in the children now, the cost to educate them over 12 years decreases.”
Representatives Fite, Hammer, Davis and Mayberry visited PreK classrooms and spoke with both students and teachers. Parents had the opportunity to share how the program directly benefits their students.