Preschool program ‘pops up’ during spring break

The Popup preschool pilot program visited to St. John’s AME Church on Wednesday. The pilot program was scheduled to visit Greater Bond and South City communities during Leon County Schools’ spring break this week.

The program was created with the hope of bringing kids out of their homes to serve them with educational activities that include reading and art. It was put in place to empower parents and teach them basic skills that will help their children with various activities, getting them kindergarten ready. The school district recruited Whole Child Leon, the South City Foundation, The Sharing Tree, Finacious, and The H.A.N.D Up Project as partners in the project.

Talethia Edwards is the executive director of  the H.A.N.D Up Project and a member of the early childhood education and empowerment task force. She said she came up with the idea for the popup preschool.

“I had this idea as an advocate in the community that we should try and address kindergarten rates through the Popup preschool,” Edwards said.

Edwards  and others have partnered to bring a retrofitted school bus to neighborhoods where kids aren’t ready for kindergarten. The team came up with this brilliant idea about two years ago, and planned to have this program ready to go starting last April. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, plans were put on hold until now.

Morgan Evers is another member who plays a huge role in the Popup preschool program since starting. Before joining the groups, Evers worked for the Early Learning Correlation and has since gone on to start her own businesses. Evers believes that the Popup preschool is needed not just in these two neighborhoods, but around the world.

“We need  to have a program that touches on the different aspects of early childhood development. And what we’ve done looks simple, but each station is purposeful and has meaning behind it,” Evers said.

Literacy and engagement, growth and motor, movement, and arts are some of the things offered at the Popup preschool. Each station is designated to help the children engage and express themselves through the different activities, while playing to their strengths and working on their weaknesses.\

Although the pilot only lasted four days, parents and children can expect to hear more about similar activities planned for the summer. The program started off with plenty of children, and is expected to continue growing.