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Alabama’s First Class Pre-K leads the nation in quality for 18th year

Alabama is one of only five states in the country to meet 10 of 10 research-based quality standard benchmarks.

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Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) announced Thursday that Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program is once again recognized for the highest quality in yesterday’s release of the national report, The 2023 State of Preschool. Alabama is one of only five states in the country to meet 10 of 10 research-based quality standard benchmarks for 2023 and is the only state in the nation to have achieved this distinction for 18 consecutive years.

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) tracks preschool enrollment, funding and quality across states. The 2023 State of Preschool Yearbook finds Alabama is one of only five states in the country to meet 10 of 10 research-based quality benchmarks making it one of the highest quality pre-kindergarten programs in the nation.

“Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program continues to show its effectiveness in giving our youngest learners a strong start in both school and life,” said Governor Ivey. “Alabama has established itself as a national leader in early childhood education and has set a standard of excellence by making significant investments in pre-k.”

Acting Secretary Jan Hume said, “This recognition from NIEER reflects the dedication and hard work of our staff and partners who support high-quality learning experiences for our state’s 4-year-old children. We are honored by this recognition and recognize that we must continue the work to improve and expand quality early learning to support children and families across our state.”

“In this year’s education budget, I have requested funding to continue providing access to this program while also waving tuition and fee costs to parents,” said Governor Ivey. “We can all be proud that Alabama leads the nation in ensuring high quality while expanding program access to Alabama’s 4-year-olds.”

Alabama First Class Pre-K offers 4-year-olds access to prekindergarten programs in their communities. It currently serves more than 24,000 children across all 67 counties in the state. Research on the program’s long-term impacts shows that children who participated in First Class Pre-K are more likely to be successful throughout their school careers across multiple domains of learning.

Registration for the 2024-2025 school year is now open. Visit, children.alabama,gov to register a child for Alabama First Class Pre-K.

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