TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa's Little Light House started the 2019-2020 school year strong with two new full-time classrooms and four part-time classrooms. Student enrollment increased from 96 to 152.
The staff is able to serve an additional 56 children this year, which is a relief for some families who have been on the wait list.
"When we found out it was almost like is it really our turn? and so we were excited to know that Tristan would start school this year and not have to wait any longer," said Jennifer Amstutz, a parent of a three-year-old boy.
She said she was on the waiting list for three years, but the wait is finally over. Her son was diagnosed with down syndrome and is now able to join other children at the center who have physical and mental challenges.
"I believe every child should have the same opportunities for education and inclusion and to know that they are important and valued just as anyone else," said Amstutz.
At any given time, there could be between 250 and 300 names on the wait list.
By increasing enrollment this year, the center's executive director hopes to help fill a gap.
"The need in Tulsa is great for more services with children with special needs. We've found out that we have about 7,000 children in our area alone under the age of 6," said Anne McCoy, the executive director.
Teachers at the Little Light House are specialized to provide early intervention and developmental classes for children from birth to age six.
"I enjoy teaching here because I see a miracle every single day. I get to see kids learn to crawl to walk. I get to see nonverbal kids become verbal," said Sarah Sullivan, a three-year teacher at the center.
Helping teachers succeed in the classroom are volunteers who donate their time. McCoy said there is still a need for more volunteers.
For more information on how you can help out, click here.
The Little Light House is funded through private sources, such as foundations and grants, and provides free tuition.
It is located on 36th Street and Yale Avenue.
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