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Early Education Programs Offer Head Start for Youngest SC Students

June 21, 2016 - Posted in Palmetto Scene by Kaisha Young
Youngest Student

Research shows that children greatly benefit from receiving education before kindergarten. During early childhood, the human brain develops the majority of its neurons and is most receptive to learning. For example, children often have an easier time picking up a second language than adults. This is because the neurons in their brains are actively creating new connections that allow them to retain information so well. This growth primarily happens within the first two years of a child’s life.

Because of this, researchers encourage parents to enroll their children in early education programs. These programs lay the groundwork for academic success. They teach children soft skills like paying attention and impulse control that help strengthen their critical thinking and problem solving skills, as they get older. Children who are exposed to education in their early years are less likely to need remediation in school or special education instruction. Long term benefits include attending college, fewer behavioral problems, and lower rates of crime involvement.

The South Carolina legislature is working to make early childhood education available for all children by continually funding financial assistance programs for eligible families.

Head Start may be the most well-known option for South Carolina parents. It’s been serving young learners in this state for 50 years now. This free program allows children to do various activities in a classroom setting, while under the supervision of qualified teachers.  

First Steps is another South Carolina early childhood education initiative. With locations in 46 counties, its 4K program makes the transition into kindergarten easier for children.

Reach Out and Read provides free books for children who qualify. When children come in for pediatric care, they are able to get the books from their doctor. This program has been proven to give children stronger language skills, as well as better vocabularies.

The SC Voucher Program makes payments to child care providers on behalf of families. This program offers a little more flexibility than the previous ones because parents are allowed to choose the type of educational program they want to enroll their child in. The voucher will cover schools, churches, synagogues, or even neighborhood child care groups.

Another learning tool that South Carolina children can utilize is ETV’s Knowitall, which covers topics ranging from science to visual arts. This educational web portal features a collection of interactive websites and videos that are tailored for K-12 students, teachers and parents. 

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