Montgomery, AL – A final public hearing was held Thursday in Montgomery to discuss adoption of performance standards for pre-kindergarten programs. Alabama is one of the few states that lacked such standards on guidance and instruction for preschoolers...but officials say that will soon change. Operators and owners of the state's 52 centers were given draft copies of the standards before the public hearing. No one objected to any issues outlined. The standards are mandatory for use in child-care centers that are authorized and funded through the state's Office of School Readiness under the Department of Children's Affairs. They are voluntary for other child-care and day-care centers in Alabama. Linda Hampton is the acting commissioner for the Department of Children's Affairs. She says the state made pre-kindergarten children a priority in 2000, when the Office of School Readiness was created. She says by adopting standards, it's now possible to measure how those school readiness centers are doing and ensure that programs are effective. Among other things, the standards say that four-year-olds should show understanding of stories and songs that are read aloud and be able to follow two and three-step directions.