|Clay County has been given the Community Alliances to Promote Education Grant, a $5 million grant to benefit the entire community.|
The CAPE Grant is given by Lily Endowment Inc. and is used to improve reading and communication skills as well as employment opportunities which will give every citizen the chance to better their lives.
In order to support the grant application, changes to goals and objectives to the following areas had to be made: Increase in facility size in order to meet the needs of the community, funds provided for literacy resources, promotion of literacy awareness, an increase in technology used in literacy programs and coordination of countywide literacy programs.
Several of these objectives have already been attended to with the building of the alternative school and the awarding of federal funds for Even Start, a family literacy program that offers parents or guardians the chance to get their GED or high school diploma while reviewing their math or reading skills in conjunction with attending parenting classes with their child while the child is enrolled in the programs pre-school or kindergarten. The next project that the grant will fund is a site for a pre-school that will offer a distance learning lab and adult education classes.
With the help of the CAPE grant, the pre-school will be equipped with the lab along with preparing children to qualify for new kindergarten standards. The curriculum will be designed to build social/emotional, physical, cognitive and language development. The preschool will be in the old Hooks building and is free to students who live in Clay County and are between the ages of three and five. These programs are already in progress at Forest Park, Meridian Elementary Schools and Clay City library.
CAPE Prevention Coordinator, Mary Yelton, said, "The pre-schools are going great and the teachers are doing a super job."
The CAPE pre-school program will be based on current research on brain development and how young children learn. These studies have demonstrated that a rapid pace of learning takes place from birth. During the ages of three and five, children actively create understanding and knowledge by combining new concepts and ideas based on what they already know. Thus it is vitally important that children have learning experiences that are appropriately based on current knowledge and research of child development and learning, focused on the strengths, needs and interests of each individual child and respect the social or cultural context that each child lives in.
Through these new programs, a vast improvement in literacy will be made which means better jobs for Clay County residents, more money for Clay County and an improvement in the quality of life.