Members of the Decatur-Morgan County legislative delegation were recently treated to a tour of the new Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center (VCT ELC) to see how a new model for early childhood education is being implemented in Decatur.
The VCT ELC houses both Head Start and state Pre-K classrooms under the same roof. And recently the center expanded its services with additional Early Head Start classrooms to serve children birth to 3 plus pregnant women. The site will be able to provide continual early learning services to children from birth to four years, allowing parents to keep their young children enrolled at one location until they are eligible for kindergarten.
Kim Dodd, Director of Children’s Services for the Partnership, explained that the Infant/Toddler classrooms for children birth to three provides the same services with mixed funding. “The focus is on intentional play through developmentally appropriate practices.”
Secretary Jeana Ross of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education said, “This is the perfect example to create the birth to school continuum. With developmentally appropriate practices and high-quality experiences, this is the best early care program. A vision has come to fruition.”
In his remarks, Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) highlighted the importance of high-quality early childcare. “Studies show that without high-quality childcare programs are nothing more than glorified babysitters. This is taxpayer money well-spent. We have miles to go but we are making good progress.”
As the liaison for the Vivian Conatser-Turner endowment that funded the Early Learning Center bearing the same name, Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), acknowledged the role that high-quality childcare has in working families. “Childcare is a really big component to fulfilling our workforce needs.”
Take a virtual tour of the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center here:
To learn more about the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center, contact Center Director Heather Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-580-5450.