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PONTOTOC, Miss. (WCBI)-Seventy-two educational groups throughout Mississippi are getting a chance to bring better education to their area through Pre-school programs.

Children at East Side Pre-K school in West Point are getting a head start on education.

“If they have a great foundation before age five they are just destined to graduate,” says Jacqueline Gray.

That’s why more than a dozen groups across Northeast Mississippi are applying for the new Early Learning Collaborative Act.

Made up of three million dollars in state appropriated funds, the program is the first of its kind in the Magnolia state.

Principle Jacqueline Gray says an emphasis on head start is necessary for a state that has a reputation of falling behind in education.

“As we all know we always say about the state of Mississippi being the last in something it’s nice that we are starting to look at Pre-K as a benefit as a main thing to fuel our children,” says Gray.

While some children are benefiting from their communities Pre-school programs in Pontotoc educators are trying to find a way to bring it to their schools.

“There has been an organization of area childcare providers and daycare centers in Pontotoc county for the passed at least two to three years that have been building to make sure that everybody is on the same page the same things are being taught so that students are ready when they enter public school kindergarten,” says Lynnice Carter.

Mitzi Ward from South Pontotoc Elementary understands the impact early learning has on children.

You can automatically tell who has had” some type of semi-formal education in kindergarten and the children who have not,” says Mitzi Ward.

Ward believes as education evolves so does expectations of students.

“Used to, kids could start in kindergarten and learn their ABC’s there, learn the sounds there. Learn how to write their name and now they are expected to pretty much know that as they come in to kindergarten,” says Ward.

Many educators hope this is just the beginning to better education in Mississippi.

The groups have until November 5th to turn in their applications.


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