Day care provider says state must invest in early childhood education

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The children are sitting on a rug near the front of the classroom and reciting the alphabet for their teacher, Andrea Brown.

WREG visited the blended kindergarten and first-grade classroom at Breath of Life Preschool and Preparatory Academy ahead of Thursday's Child Care Town Hall, which will be held on the same campus, at the Breath of Life Christian Center.

The students seemed engaged, excited and ready to learn.

Between the pre-school and prep academy, Breath of Life serves children from 12 months to first grade.

Director Kenya Cervetti says they begin the building blocks to success as soon as students enter the door.

"We choose to let them know that they're awesome and that they're great. And with that, they take ownership of being here, ownership of the classrooms, ownership of their learning and they soar."

The goal is to make sure students are prepared when they leave Breath of Life and enter elementary school.

Cervetti says parents should search for the same when looking for child care.

She talked with WREG about questions parents should ask providers: "What will they learn, what milestones should I expect for them to reach, what should they be accomplishing from 12 months to 24 months, what should this look like from 24 months to 36 months and making sure you're partnering with a facility that fosters what you're seeking."

WREG is partnering with State Sen. Lee Harris and Rep. Antonio Parkinson for Thursday's town hall.

The public is invited to attend.

Cervetti says she hopes some of the discussion centers around more support for early childhood education, and specifically, funding, training and resources for teachers.

"Not just that mediocre, that'll do kind of training, but making certain that we're investing those dollars to make sure that those teachers who provide services to family in early ed, are getting all that they can get," said Cervetti.

Cervetti says parents should attend the town hall and share their concerns.

"I would totally say to every family member, let your voice be heard."

The town hall begins at 5:30 p.m. at Breath of Life Christian Center at 3795 Frayser Raleigh Road.