Alabama is one of three states with a Pre-K program being recognized after research shows they are meeting minimum requirements.
This is Alabama's 15th consecutive year of being recognized for their program. The National Institute for Early Education requires state Pre-K programs to maintain 10 requirements used to compare programs.
The other two states that met all 10 requirements are Michigan and Rhode Island.
The top three requirements are a small teacher to student ratio, all teachers to have a bachelor's degree and curriculum standards to be up to date and comprehensive.
WAAY 31 talked to Madison's First Class Pre-K Center to find out how they plan to move forward for the next school year.
Many parents said this Pre-K program is one of the best they've seen. They said it's due to the school always going above and beyond for their children.
Administration at the center said thanks to the state recognition, they will have increased funding for the upcoming school year.
"If we grow, then that'll just be more children that are served and more children that are ready for kindergarten," said Angie Bush, the principal of Madison First Class Pre-K Center.
She said she and her staff work hard to make sure each child is ready for kindergarten. Bush explained their style of teaching and what they're teaching is extremely important, and they are always working to improve.
"We have lots of support from the Alabama Department of Early Childhood so that we can ensure that what we're doing is developmentally appropriate in following those standards," said Bush.
According to a national study done by the Institute of Early Education, nationally, funding for Pre-K is low, but funding for the state of Alabama continues to grow.
Some parents say they hope funding will continue to increase.
"Because of our children that are in situations that are less fortunate than others and they can't afford to pay for private Pre-K, so they really need this funding to be able to better prepare themselves and to go farther in life," said Bethany Turner, a parent and teacher who supports Pre-K education.
Turner put her child through an early education program and said it made a big difference.
"If they're in an unstructured setting, they're not going to learn, they're just going to play wide open," she said.
She told us she believes in something called "foundation for all education." She put her daughter in school since infancy, and she says she has seen a huge improvement in her school work now that she is in elementary school.
Thanks to Pre-K, Turner said her daughter knows sign language and how to speak a second language.
Bush said, this year, they have doubled in size since first opening for the 2014-2015 school year. They grew from only 90 students to almost 200. She said, next year, they will be opening up another classroom.
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