HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Governor Bob Riley says 27 classrooms will join the nation's top-rated pre-kindergarten program.
Twenty-seven new pre-k classes will receive $45,000 each. Several of the children who will benefit live in North Alabama.
Hayley Sills is a single mother of two. Her oldest daughter Jaden has been enrolled in Ms. Dolores Newsom's pre-k class at Huntsville Child Care, for nearly a year.
"She can write her name now, she comes home singing songs that I've never heard before, and she wants to come to school every day, even on the weekends," said Sills.
For the third year in a row, Alabama's first class pre-k program received a perfect 10 from the National Institute for Early education Research.
Only Alabama and North Carolina can claim this honor.
Heart of the Valley YMCA President Scott Mounts says YMCA'S in the northwestern and southeastern parts of the city will join Huntsville Child Care as part of Governor Bob Riley's expansion announcement.
"They've tested and proven that there's been benefits to not only the kids, but society as well," Mounts said.
Some of the benefits are limiting criminal activity and unemployment.
For parents like Hayley Sills, there's an immediate pay-off.
She says she started Jaden in pre-k classes because her daughter had attention difficulties.
Now, Jaden isn't only learning how to put together the building blocks to a bright future, she and others are also receiving the much needed attention to learn.
"It means a lot because I'm a single mother and I don't have the time to spend with her like most parents do," added Sills.
The number of four-year-olds in the program has grown 68 percent to nearly 4,000 children since the governor launched the first class initiative in November of 2007.
New classes in north Alabama include Cullman, Jackson, Lawrence and Madison counties.