Flint (WJRT) (12/11/17) - More than 200 Flint children are benefiting from the construction of a new school. Educare had its grand opening Monday. It's for children from birth to five years old who were exposed to the Flint water emergency. It features small class sizes. Parents are encouraged to spend a lot of time there.
Educare was open for the politicians, community leaders and the media to take a look. The first classes started December 4. The children were glad to show their guests around the school.
"It's hard to overstate how powerful this is. I'm completely blown away by this," said Congressman Dan Kildee, 5th district.
During the Flint water emergency medical experts expressed how concerned they were about child development because of exposure to lead.
"In the wake of the water crisis, we learned that increasing access to high quality early childhood education was one of the most important things we could do," said Ridgeway White of the Mott Foundation.
So the Mott Foundation and several other organizations and agencies came up with the money to build the school and operate it.
"It really is intended to serve as a model for quality pre-school, not only just for Flint and Genesee County but the state of Michigan," said Lisa Hagel, Genesee Intermediate School District superintendent.
The children have close adult supervision.
"Typically you'll see four children to two adults. In some cases maybe six children to two adults," said Hagel.
The kids will have their blood lead levels monitored and be given nutritious lead fighting food.
"This is what kids not only need but this is what kids deserve," said Karen Weaver, Flint mayor.
The school is located on Gladwyn Street on Flint west side. It will be open all year round.
"This school will strengthen not just the children but also the families," said Cynthia Jackson of the Educare Learning Network.
"It's a direct result of trying to help children succeed in life," said Hagel.