Oliver Pre-K program labeled "a model school"

Oliver Elementary has been selected as a model school for pre-kindergarten classes by the state department of children's affairs.

A group of five pre-k teachers from surrounding counties came to the school Thursday morning to observe a pre-kindergarten class at the elementary school and learn from teaching practices there.

"They have all the high quality standards in place," said Jacquelyn Autrey, a technical assistant from the office of school readiness that was accompanying the teachers.

Oliver's program is the only model state-funded pre-k program in the county and is being used as supplemental training for teachers.

The teachers observing at the school said they were particularly impressed with the way the teachers used play to teach children, rather than just drilling the students in skills, like math and reading.

"Children need to play to learn," said Cindy Irvin, a teacher with Eufaula City schools.

Autry said children enrolled pre-k programs are often better prepared for kindergarten and first grade. The programs also act an an early form of drop-out prevention, she said.