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Gov. Kay Ivey released the names of the pre-K classrooms that will receive the first round of grants for the 2019-2020 school year. There were 11 schools in the west Alabama region on that list, including schools in both Tuscaloosa City and County systems.

The new classrooms will expand access to the state-funded voluntary pre-K program.

Creative Development Childcare was included as one of the 160 schools.

“We see the needs the children on a day-to-day basis and we felt like this program would be a good program to implement into our daycare center,” Arlisa Strong, director of the pre-K program, said.

This plan will make pre-K available to more than 21,000 children and more than 1,200 classrooms. Strong said she has been waiting a long time for this.

“It is very exciting,” Strong said. “I have so many butterflies in my stomach, the adrenaline-rushing of it is just so huge and we just can’t wait.”

Strong explained the impact this plan will have on 4-year-olds who are “learning to prepare for the big adventure of kindergarten.”

“This will consist of working with their fine motor skills as well as their gross motor skills,” she said.

Creative Development Childcare will follow the same curriculum as the Tuscaloosa City Schools system. The center will hire certified teachers who will have attended workshops and learn the lesson plan materials, preparing themselves for 18 students who will be part of the program.

“These students will be chosen at random so anyone can apply for this program,” Strong said. “As long as they’re 4, they have to be born on September 2 or before that date in order to be eligible for participation in the program.”

Every three years, the center will have to reapply for the grant. Creative Development Childcare owner and director Virgie Greene is equally elated for the opportunities this program will bring for young people.

“Really I thought this day would never come, so I’m very, very excited,” she said. “I’m excited the program is here and I am excited to be part of it.”

To apply for the program, visit This will show a list of the available programs. The first day of school is August 8.

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