MADISON, Ala. - Alabama's pre-kindergarten program continues to lead the nation in quality for the 10th year in a row, according to a new report released this week.
Alabama is one of only two states in the country to meet all of the benchmark requirements as established by the National Institute for Early Education Research.
"Those benchmarks are essentially talking about age-appropriate play for children of this age. Children of this age learn through play," explained Madison City Schools First Class Pre-K Center Assistant Principal Angie Bush.
Focusing on letting kids be kids and have fun and letting them learn through guided choices is something Bush says is what keep Alabama Pre-K's leading the nation in quality year after year.
The report also shows enrollment in Alabama Pre-K up by more than 1,700 students in 2015.
"The more children that attend Pre-K, the studies have shown there's less truancy, less high school dropouts, less teenage pregnancy," said Bush.
As more children are attending Pre-K, the report also shows state spending on Pre-K rose by around $1,000 per child. Bush said she is happy to see this kind of investment in Alabama's future.
Bush also assures the funding for Pre-K is delegated responsibly and monitored.
"The funding for our classrooms is not just money that's thrown at the school district. They're not just throwing things at teachers, they're supporting teachers so they're coached along with developmental programs... you're not throwing money at something and then walking away," said Bush.