The College of Education and the College of Health and Human Services are teaming up to create an early learning center in Dothan in an effort to encourage early education in the Wiregrass area.
The Coleman Center for Early Learning and Enrichment on Troy’s Dothan campus will provide early education to children from six weeks old to kindergarten-age using a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) curriculum.
“The early learning center will provide an innovative approach for educating young children and a lab and research school for students and faculty,” said Nancy Mitta, the director of the Coleman Center. “We will also have a family and community enrichment program, which will provide engagement activities, education programs — things that will really benefit the families, the community and the children.”
Erin Rosa, a senior early childhood education major from Enterprise, is currently helping at the Coleman Center through the VISTA program, a scholarship put on by the College of Health and Human Services for education students.
“Once the Coleman Center is complete, early childhood students will be able to receive observation hours within the Pre-K classrooms,” Rosa said. “Childhood students will observe their cooperating teacher and create lesson plans to teach in learning segments.”
While the Coleman Center is still in its planning stages, students will be able to volunteer when the center opens.
“Once we get closer to opening, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of hands-on work for everybody,” Mitta said. “It lends itself to our community and our students, because so many of our community and our students have talents and gifts, and we want them to share those with us and be successful with this curriculum.
“You can come donate books, help with time and talent … we just want our students and faculty to be involved.”
The Coleman Center is set to open on Aug. 20, but anyone interested may enroll their children in or donate to the program online. There is a $100 application fee, and enrollment is $150 a week.
The center will be open year-round from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.