By Adam Armour/Staff Writer
Fulton’s preschool classes have gotten a bit more hi-tech, thanks to the efforts of a small non-profit group.
Preschool students at Itawamba Attendance Center now have access to a SMART Table — an interactive, touch sensitive device that will allow them to play colorful, educational games and do other activities. Think of it as a really, really large iPad — something multiple students can gather around and interact with.
The table will be shared between the school’s two preschool classes and will be incorporated into their everyday activities.
According to Stacy Kline, co-founder of April’s Angels, the teachers will use the interactive desk to “teach daily lessons such as numbers, colors and the alphabet.”
“They can also download activities that meet Common Core Standards with any grade,” she added. “It enhances cognitive, social and motor skills. It offers teachers an alternate way to assess their students. The possibilities are endless.”
Preschool teachers were recently trained in the use of the table, the cost of which was included in the table’s $7,800 price tag.
Funding to purchase the table was garnered through donations and fundraisers hosted by April’s Angels throughout the year, including a beauty pageant, T-shirt sale and cow patty bingo.
According to Kline, the group is currently moving forward with plans for future fundraisers, which will tentatively raise money to purchase handicap accessible playground equipment.
Formed late last year, April’s Angels is a small non-profit organization dedicated to boosting preschool and special education programs at Itawamba Attendance Center. The group was created in honor of the late April South, who taught preschool at the attendance center until her unexpected death in June of last year.
Kline said South, a close friend of hers, was a tremendous advocate for childhood education and devoted her life to finding new ways to inspire her students.
“She was always looking for new ways to help them learn academically and socially,” Kline said. “April’s Angels felt the SMART Table would be a great asset to these classrooms.”
Kline said public support for the foundation has been tremendous, even though the group is young.
“The public has been wonderful,” Kline said, adding that both the attendance center and the school district as a whole have been very supportive of the program.
South would have been proud, she added.
“April was such a energetic and loving friend, teacher, and mother and people who knew her remember her that way,” Kline said.