Perea: A Bright Spot on WKNO 

Willy Bearden documentary highlights exceptional school.

They say first impressions are lasting. And Memphis documentary filmmaker Willy Bearden has vivid memories of the first time he ever visited Perea Preschool with Memphis musician John Kilzer. The two men were working together on a project about the relationship of art and religion when Kilzer asked Bearden if he'd be interested in making a film about Perea, an experiment in early childhood education created by the Church Health Center in 1999.

"That's exactly what I'm about," Bearden answered. "I want to show people all the good things happening in Memphis." His concise, 30-minute documentary, Perea: A Bright Spot, collects stories that illustrate the positive impact this unconventional preschool is having on students and parents in Memphis' economically disadvantaged Klondike neighborhood. It starts airing on WKNO Channel 10 Thursday, May 14th.

click to enlarge Perea: A Bright Spot airs on WKNO on May 14th
  • Perea: A Bright Spot airs on WKNO on May 14th

"Everybody looked so happy and so engaged," Bearden says, recalling his first visit to Perea. "There were 120 students, all 3 year olds and 4 year olds. And there were parents there, too. And the whole place just had this palpable vibe. Everybody was on the same page and getting along. You walk in and think, 'Something is really going on here, and I want to find out what it is.'"

Perea preschool only accepts students whose parents agree to become active participants in the educational process.

click to enlarge werec_still1.jpg

"[Church Health Center CEO] Scott Morris told me that Perea requires a lot [from its] parents," Bearden explains. "You've got to come in a couple of times a month and read to the kids. What does this do for the parents? Well, maybe they don't read well and maybe they're not comfortable with that. So what do they do? They practice up on their reading. Then the kids see parents taking part in the classroom and it has this ripple effect that is just incredible," Bearden says.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Tiger Blue

Penny Speaks, We Listen

Hungry Memphis

Michael Donahue's Best Bets: Irish Car Bomb

News Blog

RDC Rebooted as 'Memphis River Parks Partnership'

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Jones Rolling With Short Films

News Blog

Southern Hot Wings Festival 2018

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Don Lifted

Politics Beat Blog

Weekend Review: Confederate Statues Loom Over GOP Debates

Music Blog

Keith Sykes Leads Ardent Into a New Era

We Saw You

Drew Erwin opens downtown studio. Plus party news.

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Davis

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation