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    Conway makes way for Pre-K, despite drop in state funding

    7:17 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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    Video: Despite drop in funding, Conway is making room for Pre-K stu

    CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -- "Sometimes I do think it has been put back in the back and viewed as supervising, or babysitting, or taking care of them while parents work, and then we put the emphasis on the later years and wonder why they're not achieving," Beth Flippo explained.

    With a little more than 200 spaces for preschoolers in the Conway Public School District, it makes it hard for all pre-school aged kids to get the same education.

    "Conway is a lot larger community than that, and so we want to help bring the private sector product up to a standard that meets the quality education they're receiving from the school district," explained Jamie Gates.

    The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and school district are partnering with Lifelong Learners, a non-profit organization based in Conway. Its mission is to support success among youth.

    "College readiness, high school graduation, whether a child is successful as an adult--a lot of those things are successes as a result of a solid, early childhood foundation," executive director Charlotte Green said.

    Smart Start Christian Academy is one of the schools participating in a pilot project for the new preschool initiative. Teachers and administrators said they have already noticed the impact the program is making.

    "This is when they're soaking in like a sponge, and so it's very important that we put those activities and those things out in front of them and help them prepare for kindergarten, middle school, junior high and high school," Flippo added.

    If you look beyond the building blocks, and classroom pets, you may just see our future, and when you look at it that way, Charlotte Green said it is an investment you can't put a price tag on.

    "If we give them everything we have at this early age, then we're going to put them in a position that they're going to give us everything that they have later in life, and we want to invest in them," Green concluded.

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