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Community leaders work to increase preschool enrollment

Posted at 12:05 PM, Jan 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-11 13:55:24-05

TULSA — A group of leaders in north Tulsa is teaming up with a local organization to encourage families to send their children to preschool.

Impact Tulsa found one in three children in the area does not attend a free quality preschool.

"There’s this misconception that school starts in first grade," Andrea Stacy with Impact Tulsa said. "That grade school is when kids really start to learn."

Stacy said that is not true. She said critical learning happens in preschool that puts students on an equal playing field with their peers in kindergarten.

"Pre-reading skills, basic math skills, fine motor skills," Stacy said is learned in preschool. "You wouldn’t even think opening a milk container."

The group found pockets of Tulsa that have lower enrollment than others. North Tulsa is one of them.

Friday, Impact Tulsa gathered a group of influential members of the specific community and took them to four different style preschools in the north Tulsa community. They went to ECDC Bunche, Hawthorne, Emerson and the Greenwood Leadership Academy.

The "validators" had the opportunity to sit in classrooms, interact with the children and ask the principal and parents questions.

The goal is to get the leaders to encourage people they see every day to enroll their children in school early. By putting them in the classroom, Impact Tulsa hoped that would equip them with an "authentic story" to share about each school.

"We want to give our kids as much of an advantage as possible, knowing that a lot of the socioeconomic issues families are facing is a barrier for them," said Greg Robinson, director of family and community ownership for MET Cares.

Robinson said because they are a part of the community, they will have more opportunities to come into contact with families, whether that be at church, the community center or in their neighborhood.

"That’s really one of our goals, is to be able to identify a message and the opportunities that are available in north Tulsa, in the community, just a short drive away, so people don’t feel like they have to go way outside of the community to get a quality education for their kids," Robinson said.

Children are eligible for preschool if they are four-years old on or before Sept. 1.

Enrollment begins for next school year on Feb. 4. Leaders encourage enrolling as soon as possible.

For more information on enrolling in preschool, visit Impact Tulsa's website.

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