A Troy University program aimed at helping Dothan area preschoolers better prepare for kindergarten is doubling in scope thanks to a funding increase.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has increased funding for Project Pre-K to K Transition, a three-year program that offers training, supplies and hands-on support to child care centers in the Dothan area.
The funding increase allows TROY to expand the scope of Project Pre-K to K Transition from two facilities last year to four facilities this year.
Child care centers selected for this year’s program are Little Rebels Daycare, Ashford Christian Development Center, Southeast Alabama Medical Center Child Development Center and Honeysuckle Childcare & Preschool.
Kellogg increased funding for the project from $363,000 to about $600,000 due to remarkable results after the first year of the program, which began last fall.
Conner said the first year of the program, which provided certified teachers and supplies to Eastside Childcare Learning Center and Pal-A-Roos Daycare, was a major success based on test scores and parental feedback.
“We tested the students, and all of the students showed significant improvements,” Conner said. “Then we surveyed our teachers that participated in the project and we surveyed our parents, and everybody had positive comments. Most of the comments quoted things like, ‘We’re now reading every day with our child at home,’ ‘Our child is more confident.’ One mother said she wished her 6-year-old had a chance to go through this program.”
In addition to hiring part-time certified teachers to work at the child care centers, TROY also provides support including books, supplies and technology to help the children learn.
“This increase will help us reach twice as many children and families, to go in and provide the same types of things we provided in our initial year, but doubling the reach,” said Dr. Cynthia Hicks, who received the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction in Sponsored Programs last year alongside project co-directors Pam Wimbish and Dr. Tonya Conner.