Spartanburg District 3 recently received $67,500 in funding through Mary Black Foundation to expand existing parent support services throughout the D3 community. The services are provided by three full time parent educators trained in the Parents as Teachers Curriculum and Triple P.
The need for expansion of services was identified from data collected through the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in 2018. Two areas considered at-risk for school readiness were Pacolet and Cowpens with 71% of children in Pacolet not ready for kindergarten. Many of our students entering four and five-year-old kindergarten have not developed the skills necessary to be ready to learn. The goal of the program, “Ready by Five: Countdown to Kindergarten” is to improve opportunities to prepare children prior to entering school. Research has indicated home visiting programs such as PAT have long term impacts on families. Developmental delays and health problems are detected early; children are kindergarten ready to learn; parents are more involved in their children’s learning; and parenting knowledge and skills are improved resulting in less abuse and neglect.
Working through COVID-19
Despite the implications of Covid-19, 40 families are currently served prenatal through school entry. Services include regular home visits, age appropriate activities for the child, screening for early detection of developmental delays, referral services for the families, and providing household supplies. The goal is to prepare children to be ready to enter school and to strengthen the connections between families and schools. The educational resources and support strengthen the skills needed for parents to be an essential part of teaching their child the skills needed to prepare for school success.
All families served participate in the Triple P parenting program with regular meetings and group connections. This allows parents opportunities to gather as a group and support each other while increasing parenting skills.
Ready by Five: Countdown to Kindergarten
Through collaboration and support from the school and local resources, “Ready by Five: Countdown to Kindergarten” hopes to build strong communities with thriving families and children who are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. The ultimate dream is the addition of a 3-year-old program to prepare students for kindergarten.