Friday, June 25, 2010

Play to Learn Program Expanding

Alexander County Partnership for Children wants to expand their Play to Learn program to other sites in the county. Currently the Play to Learn program is offered at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church on Wednesday mornings. The partnership hopes to bring the program to the Bethlehem area, Hiddenite/Stony Point area or any area of the county where needed.

Play to Learn is a FREE preschool educational opportunity that brings children and parents together in a community setting and provides a quality educational experience for children. Classes meet one time a week for two hours and all materials and staff are supplied by the partnership office.

Activities are based on the Creative Curriculum for the children and help parents/caregivers by providing age appropriate adult/child interactions through play. Information is provided on child development and community resources, and ideas for activities to be used at home are furnished. Children will also be introduced to visual arts, creative drama, creative movement, and music with a literacy enhancement component. Sessions will include themes that allow participating children to receive take home materials to extend the session into their home with parental support.

If your church or community organization can offer building space for the Play to Learn program and is interested in learning about this community opportunity please contact Tiffany Shumate at Alexander County Partnership for Children, 632-3799. The Play to Learn program is a great way for churches and community organizations to enrich the lives of the children and families in Alexander County.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rhonda Branton Joins Team ACPC

Rhonda Branton has joined the Alexander County Partnership for Children as the Provider Support Coordinator. She has worked in the field of early childhood education for over nine years including owning and operating her Family Child Care Home, “All About Kids”, and working at The Sandbox Child Care Center in Hickory. Most recently she served as a More At Four classroom teacher at LuLus Child Enrichment Center in Taylorsville.

Rhonda holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Catawba Valley Community College. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science in Birth to Kindergarten education. In addition she holds a level eight Early Childhood Certification from the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals.

Rhonda will serve as the Raising a Reader Coordinator Program that is being implemented in three and four year old classrooms in Alexander County. This literacy program engages parents and children in a book cuddling activity through book rotation. Rhonda will also provide technical assistance to licensed child care facilities in Alexander County including Family Child Care Homes and Child Centers.

Susan Cogdill, Executive Director of the Alexander County Partnership for Children welcomes the opportunity to have Rhonda as a member of the ACPC team. “Rhonda brings a wealth of experience to the provider support coordinator position. I look forward to her immediate impact in working to assist child care facilities in our county while she seeks to improve early childhood educational opportunities for our children.”

Tuesday For Tots

On Tuesday, June 8th Alexander County child advocates and child care professionals from Alexander County traveled to the North Carolina General Assembly as part of Smart Start’s statewide “Tuesdays for Tots” initiative. The constituents met with Representative Ray Warren and Senator Steve Goss and asked these legislative members to “hold the line” and continue to invest in young children in Alexander County. Earlier this year more than 800 community leaders from across the state voted that access to quality early education and care was a top priority for young children.

“The Alexander County Partnership for Children, a Smart Start initative, is committed to ensuring that all local children have access to early education and health services to help them succeed in school and in life,” said Susan Cogdill. “However, while the challenges facing local families continue to grow, the funding that allows Smart Start to serve families is in jeopardy. Today’s meeting is to help legislators better understand the needs in our community and to ask that they ‘hold the line’ and continue to invest in young children and our state through Smart Start. Today’s children are North Carolina’s future leaders, parents and workers. Our state’s prosperity depends on their healthy development and growth.”

Tuesdays for Tots is Smart Start’s signature effort that takes place during the legislative session. On Tuesdays, advocates representing Smart Start’s 77 partnerships come to Raleigh for one-on-one meetings to educate lawmakers on the challenges facing young families and how Smart Start meets these critical needs.

Smart Start is North Carolina's early childhood initiative. For the past 16 years, it has been a recognized as a national model in helping ensure that young children enter school healthy and ready to succeed. Smart Start is a public-private initiative that provides early education and care funding to all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Smart Start funds are administered at the local level through nonprofit organizations called Local Partnerships. The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc., (NCPC) is the statewide nonprofit organization that provides oversight and technical assistance for local partnerships.

Smart Start has experienced funding reductions over the past 9 years of $43.8 million. This amounts to a loss of $101.2 million when combined with the effects of inflation. These cuts are occurring at the same time that economists and other business leaders are advocating that investments in young children are one of the strongest investments not only for the short term but also for sustained growth and job creation. In fact, the North Carolina General Assembly’s Legislative Study Commission on Children and Youth concluded: "It is critical to ensure the healthy development of children in the State and improve outcomes for all children in order to ensure the future success of our State and our citizens."

Local residents traveling to the North Carolina General Assembly included Susan Cogdill, Leah Bumgarner, Tiffany Shumate, Charity Reese, Larissa Church and Bonnie Canter. The residents met with the following members of the Alexander County legislative delegation: Representative Ray Warren and Senator Steve Goss.