Lincoln Elementary administrators added another knot to the net they're creating to catch kids - before they fall prey to gangs, violence and crime - when they cut the ribbon on the school's new Head Start portable classroom, built by prison inmates.

"I think it's going to be marvelous," said Lt. Gov. Olene Walker, who dedicated the new building. "It's sort of dear to my heart. I think they've got a complete program here and it should help every child."Lincoln Elementary students offered guided tours and handed out brochures outlining the programs the school has initiated to keep kids from turning to crime. Among them: Even Start Family Literacy Program, Project Hope, Kids Against Violence and H.O.P.E. Kids (Helping Others for Peace on Earth).

Principal Sherrianne Cotterell hopes to give children and their parents skills they haven't had or wouldn't have had the opportunity to gain outside of the school.

A tour through the school reveals just how much it offers to its students and their families. Several rooms are filled with toddlers and preschoolers learning to play chess, painting and playing games. There are rooms where children and parents eat dinner and make crafts together. In other rooms, parents get the chance to earn a high school diploma.

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program for low-income children and their families. Parents can come to classes any time. Lincoln's new site has been operating since March 1 and will eventually house 34 children in two shifts.

Head Start teacher Keith Dahl said the job is very challenging. Children start the day with breakfast, tooth brushing and songs. Dahl said one or two parents come daily to help with activities.

The efforts of Head Start are aimed at helping parents hold on to their role as prime educators, building a child's confidence and enhancing a child's mental processes and skills.

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