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Getting an early start

The first day of June will also mark the first day in a new era for West Alabama Preparatory School.

Shortly after the schools doors close for the summer, a new service will open catering to children ages newborn to four years old.

Headmaster Lynn Compton said the school already has preschool activities, but wanted to offer their families even more.

“We already have a K-3 and K-4, but we will be expanding that to infants and we are very excited about that,” Compton said. “We are going to be doing the Abeka curriculum and we will have educational field trips.”

The new program has already generated a lot of buzz. Rachel Holtzclaw, who will help direct the program, said several people have already asked about their new service.

“We have had a lot of calls already and we are really excited,” Holtzclaw said. “There is a really big demand in our community right now and we are just trying to open the door.”

More and more younger families are moving to Demopolis. The new program, Compton said, is a way for their school to provide these families with a loving, Christian environment for their children.

“This will be great for us because we feel our population is growing in that area,” Compton said. “People are always looking for places they can keep their children and we hope we can keep a lot of those children when it is time for them to go to school.”

The Early Education Center, Compton said, will be pf great service to the community. At the same time, she said, it will also be great for their faculty.

“This is also a wonderful thing for out teachers here,” Compton said. “To know that they are unloading one time is very helpful. They will know their children are right here with them.”

The wing of the school that currently houses the three and four year old kindergarten classes will serve as the Early Educational Center. A great deal of work, including painting and classroom setups, has already taken place.

In Demopolis, Holtzclaw said, people were fortunate to have several different programs to choose from. But, she added, the need is growing and West Alabama Preparatory School feel’s they can add another great choice.

“The other facilities in town are great and they have long waiting lists,” Holtzclaw said. “We just want to be able to provide a great educational center for this age group.”

The new educational center will operate on the same standards as the current pre-school, Holtzclaw said. They will provide a Christian-based learning environment with chapel, field trips and theme weeks.

The current program provides mission work, trips to The Willows and also held fundraisers last year for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Christmas and graduation programs are also planned.

Since the school’s doors opened almost 40 years ago, their mission has been to maintain a family environment. Board member Mitchell Snipes said they encourage parents to get involved in the Early Education Center.

“Since the schools is a real family environment we want the parents to be involved,” Snipes said. “We want them to participate with field trips and the whole educational process.”

The primary mission of the center, Holtzclaw said, was to lead children in the right direction early in life. She also said they wanted to be their family away from home.

“A lot of these children spend as much time here as they do with their parents and families,” Holtzclaw said. “We just want to help them grow up in a good, Christian environment. If they leave here smiling, we are doing our job.”