Excel by 5

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Corinth/Alcorn County Excel By 5 One Year Anniversary- The Daily Corinthian

By Joseph Miller
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Corinth and Alcorn County’s Excel By 5 coalition recently celebrated their
first anniversary at Waukomis that was hosted by Refreshments, Inc. and
Coca-Cola of Corinth.

Excel By 5 is a community-based certification program that focuses on the
important roles communities play in educating their children during the
most formative years of birth to age five. It is a standard by which
communities that choose to can be formally recognized for their effort to
support young children and their families.

Part of the Excel By 5 certification process is to engage the licensed
childcare centers and head start in dialog with the school systems. The
purpose of this dialog is so the two parties can discuss how to better
prepare the children in their care for school.

“We would also like to reach out to the unlicensed in-home childcare
providers,” said Susan O’ Connell, Excel By 5 certification manager. “I am
trying to reach out to the Nurturing Homes government agency to find the
in-home providers and give them support. I hope we can work with them and
invite them to work with us on this because we are a volunteer community
effort based program with no government affiliation.”

O’Connell said Excel By 5 would like to know who these in-home providers
are so the program can reach out to them and invite them to childcare
provider association meetings and other important events that will provide
information to better prepare their children for school.

New data has been released about the earlier a child’s education begins,
the better prepared the child is for school and life. According to
O’Connell, new research at the Urban Child Institute reported
“educational” television and computer games slows down brain function and
development in children.

“Nothing helps develop the brain like activities that involve interaction
with a counterpart,” O’Connell said. “It is scary when we think about how
much TV our kids are watching . . . we are trying to get them away from
that habit and to teach them to communicate with their peers. To talk,
play and read books out loud so they can connect the spoken word with the
written word. All these interactions are important in order to turn on
the neurons in the brain. Ninety percent of the human brain develops
between birth and the age of five.”

Alcorn County Excel By 5 childcare centers that are currently involved in
the program include the Circle Y Childcare Center, Just Kids, Kids
Kountry, Kidzville Learning Center, Little Blessings, Loving Hands, Tattle
Tales and the Wheeler Grove Learning Center.

“As we all know, it takes special people to guide, direct and teach young
children,” added O’Connell. "We are thankful for each child care provider
in Alcorn County that is currently actively involved in the Alcorn County
Excel By 5 Coalition and together, we can make a difference.”

(Anyone interested in learning more about this program can contact Susan
O’Connell at 731-610-4222.)