Ribbon cutting ceremony unveils RCS Early Childhood Center

After moving into its new home in August, the Russellville City Schools Early Childhood Center opened its doors Friday for the community and members of the state department.

The Pre-K classes moved from their former location at West Elementary School after RCS acquired the old Mars Hill Pre-School building in February.

“We are so excited to be here in this new space,” said Pre-K director Monica Moon. “We have so much more square footage in the classrooms, and the children are really able to buy into this being an early childhood center.”

Moon said while having the Pre-K at WES had some advantages, she thought it gave the children more of an elementary mindset too early.

“When they were there, it was easy for the students to have something similar to kindergarten, but they just weren’t ready for that yet,” Moon said. “Here we can make sure everything they have is age appropriate for them and their learning needs.”

RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes said he is happy to finally open the center for the community to see the great work being done.

“We are taking steps forward, and this is a big part of that,” Grimes said. “Our teachers here are doing amazing work, and we are happy to give them a facility where the program can grow.”

Russellville City Councilman Jamie Harris, who has a child enrolled in the Early Childhood Center, said he is proud of the work the system is doing to grow the program.

“I know firsthand the hard work that is put in here,” Harris said. “Everyone is doing a great job, and I’m thankful for all you guys do.”

The Early Childhood Center currently houses five classrooms with 74 students enrolled in the program – three classrooms holding 18 students and two classrooms with a smaller capacity. The facility also boasts room for expansion.

Moon said the goal is to keep the classrooms at a nine to one ratio with two teachers working in each classroom.

Classrooms are divided into stations to allow for hands-on learning for each student. While students are at the stations, teachers will move throughout the classroom to interact with students.

There is also a basement area in the facility to accommodate indoor recess on days when the weather does not permit outside play.

“We love the space we have here, and we are really looking forward to the chance to continue growing in it,” Moon said.

The Early Childhood Center is currently enrolling students. For more information, contact West Elementary School.