Months of learning culminated with a day of fun for a group of Dothan children Tuesday.
A group of 21 children from Pal-A-Roos Daycare and Eastside Childcare Learning Center travelled to Troy University’s Troy Campus to see a performance by TROY’s children’s theater group, the Pied Pipers, and to learn about some of the rescue animals from Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary.
The day of activities, titled “Pipers and Possums,” was part of Project Pre-K to K Transition, a project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and aimed at making preschoolers better prepared for kindergarten.
TROY partnered with the two Dothan childcare centers starting last fall, inserting certified teachers to work part-time at the facilities and, in the process, train assistant teachers provided by the centers.
Troy University supplied the centers with copies of the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” as well as “The Three Little Pigs,” and Tuesday’s event featured a live performance of both books by the Pied Pipers.
Keely Dolan, assistant director of Pal-A-Roos and the mother of one of the children at the center, said Project Pre-K to K Transition has made a world of difference.
“Our children have learned so much,” Dolan said. “My daughter has been there since December, and she now knows her ABCs. She can recognize letters. They’re learning to read. They have learned so much through this program.”
Dolan said her daughter at Pal-A-Roos is already more advanced than her older daughter, who is 7.
“(My older daughter) has had to learn as she’s gone alone in school,” Dolan said.
In addition to “Brown Bear, Brown Bear,” the Pied Pipers performed a version of the classic tale “The Three Little Pigs.”
After lunch, representatives from Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary showed the children three rescued birds – a crow, a red-tailed hawk and an albino blue jay.
Project Co-Director Pamela Wimbish said all indications are that the first year of Project Pre-K to K Transition has been an overwhelming success.
TROY is also assisting the childcare centers in accessing other funding opportunities, such as Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program.
The next step in the program, which is funded for three years, includes an assessment of the work at Pal-A-Roos and Eastside as well as the selection of two different childcare centers to help next year.