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franklin county times

Pre-K program premieres
at Meridian public housing

By Staff
August 13, 2004
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
As 4-year-old Mia Glenn picked up a yellow crayon to write her name, she gave a shy smile. Then she slowly began to write while her teacher watched with a dutiful eye.
Glenn, who started her first day of prekindergarten on Thursday, said the best part of her day was coloring and drawing circles.
Glenn is among about 90 students who started one of four Meridian public school prekindergarten classes on Thursday held at local public housing developments Western Gardens, Eastern Gardens, Magnolia Court and Frank Berry Courts.
Earlier this year, Meridian public schools received more than $270,000 in grants from The Phil Hardin Foundation and The Riley Foundation. The money paid for five prekindergarten teachers and teacher assistants.
Reola Daniels, Title I instructional supervisor for the school district, is over the new prekindergarten classes. She said the first day of school was a resounding success.
The Meridian Housing Authority donated space for the prekindergarten classes, and Meridian public schools spent about $63,000 on supplies and a van to deliver breakfast and lunch to the classroom sites.
School Superintendent Sylvia Autry said she wanted the school district to reach out to residents in public housing developments because she believes the district can better meet the needs of children who live there.
While in prekindergarten, students will learn skills they need to prepare for kindergarten which include helping them increase reading, writing and listening skills as well as improving their thinking and speaking skills.
Students also will learn how to develop relationships and a positive self-image.
Avis Taylor, prekindergarten teacher at Eastern Gardens, said she believes students will be more than prepared for kindergarten when they leave her class. She wants students to master colors, the alphabet, shapes and their birthdays by the end of the year.

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