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Ole Miss encourages preschool education

By Mrudvi Bakshi

news@oxfordeagle.com

Don’t be surprised if you see children aged 3-4 years trotting around with backpacks on the Ole Miss campus.

A veteran home economics professor at the University of Mississippi made it a mission to facilitate better learning facilities for Oxford’s children.

Having served as a faculty member at Ole Miss for over two decades, Dr. Willie Wilson Price was eager to make a difference in the community, always encouraging child education and development.  Aware that preschools lay the foundation for fostering this growth, Price knew what needed to be done.

That was in 1973. Forty-three years later Willie Price Lab School, is described as the happiest place on earth.

Willie Price provides high-quality pre-school education for children of the university faculty, staff, students as well as for children of the Oxford and Lafayette County community. At the school children engage in physical, social, emotional and cognitive development in a safe and nurturing environment.

Its affiliation with the University of Mississippi allows its leaders to provide education that covers music, art and physical education. Trained under the guidance of teachers licensed by the Mississippi Department of Education, the curriculum is based on recommendations of developmentally appropriate practices as defined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Currently, WPLS operates under the umbrella of the School of Education at UM and is located on the first floor of Kinard Hall on campus.

“Choosing a preschool for your child is the most important decision,” said Sarah Langley, director of the institute. “WPLS not only creates an environment conducive to learning, but also provides a laboratory setting for university students from a wide variety of disciplines across the Ole Miss campus.”

Parents looking to get their child involved in extracurricular activities can register them for the after-school program. After-school activities include playing outside, enjoying independent learning centers, attending physical education, interacting with peers and UM undergraduate student that work each afternoon, reading stories, painting, singing and dancing.

Application to the Willie Price Lab School is competitive. Tuition for university-affiliated students is $600 per month or $6,000 for the year (August-May). For non-university affiliated students, tuition is $700 per month or $7,000 for the year (August-May).

Each year the school receives a large number of applications and in an attempt to accommodate the maximum number of students, they have a waiting pool, the length of which varies each year.

The application deadline for the 2017-2018 academic year has already passed with the last date of submission being May 30. However, the school is still open to accepting applications from interested families.  For the 2018-2019 school year, applications will be accepted during an application window of April 1, 2017, and May 30, 2017.  The application and the $25 application fee will be accepted between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Kinard Hall.  Forms are available on the WPLS website as well.

Once the application and fees are submitted, the child will be placed in the waiting pool.  When applications are in the waiting pool the parents/guardians are responsible to update the application information, such as mailing address, email address, place of employment, etc. 

For enrollment preference will be given to university-affiliated families. The child must be 3 years of age by Sept. 1 of the enrollment year to enter the 3K program and 4 years by Sept. 1 of the enrollment year to enter the 4K program. The school has 34 students enrolled for the 3K program and 40 in the 4K program for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Parents are encouraged to contact the office with questions and schedule a tour to see the students and teachers in action. Also, follow Willie Price Lab School on Facebook to keep updated with its curriculum and follow students and teachers. 

“I believe preschool is important for all young children,” said Langley. “At Willie Price, we strive to provide our students with a strong foundation in early literacy skills and believe this foundation will help prepare them for their formal education.”