Pre-K classroom enrollment numbers down due to COVID, seats needing to be filled
Although all Troup County School System pre-K seats are full, there are still more than 70 opens seats within Private Childcare Centers in Troup County.
According to Get Troup Reading Director Kim Myers, Troup County has 704 funded Georgia pre-K seats.
The Troup County School System houses 506 of the seats and private Childcare Centers in Troup County house 198 seats with 77 open seats.
Myers said that equals approximately three and a half classrooms.
“This is a significant decrease in enrollment from last year due to concerns about COVID,” Myers said. “However, the private centers have strict health guidelines and requirements that they follow on a regular basis and now they have the additional pandemic guidelines in place to keep their doors open and children safe while they are learning.”
Myers said it is imperative to the county to have all pre-K classrooms full. Myers added that Georgia waived the enrollment number requirements this year due to COVID but if enrollment doesn’t go back up in the next year Troup County could lose a classroom.
“We’re afraid that they might start looking at closing those classrooms down,” Myers said. “Once we lose them, it is hard to get them back. The fact that the enrollment in these private childcare centers has declined, it’s hurting the center financially because they count on the kids to come and keep the centers open.”
In Troup County, there are six classrooms that have available seats in LaGrange. Those are Happy Days on Bridgewood Drive, Pride and Joy on Durand Road, Susan’s Early Learning Center on Whitesville Road, Teaching, Loving, Caring on East Depot Street, Tiny Treasures on Hammet Road and Yvette’s Little World on Fannin Street.
“These childcare centers are some of the cleanest and safest,” Myers said. “They are going above and beyond. They have all these requirements they have to meet in order to stay open because they’re regulated by the state.”
Myers said the more they fill the childcare centers the more likely it is to gain more seats in Troup County. She noted that it is also hurting the child’s learning development by keeping them at home.
“We know the virtual kids were only getting two hours of face to face, that’s why the school system really pushed for the kids to come back,” Myers said. “Our learning centers prepare the kids developmentally for the kids to be ready for kindergarten. They expose them to literature, fine motor skills and socialization skills.”
Myers said that she hopes that if they address the problem now, come the new year seats will start to be filled.
“We need to fill these seats and get as many Troup County four year olds in the program so we then can work towards gaining more classrooms for our community,” Myers said. “Even though the school system programs are full, these private ones are the same type of programs. It’s monitored by the same people. They go through the same training and they have the same requirements to meet for the state of Georgia.”
For more information about the childcare programs, call Get Troup Reading at (706) 302-9833.
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