“We have to first start with communities, identify, and then build upon their existing resources to foster parent and community engagement and use of best practices in early learning,” said Steve Williams, MSCEI executive director. “The science of quality early childhood education and development is well understood and in large part, rooted in simple, fun and consistent activities that stimulate and nurture a child.
”We believe, community by community, that collaborations such as Excel By 5 will help nurture the seeds of early learning to grow into a statewide effort to emphasize and improve quality early education.”
The communities of Alligator, Belzoni, Beulah, Duncan, Glendora, Greenwood, Gunnison, Isola, Louise, Pace, Rosedale, Shelby, Silver City, Sumner, Tutwiler, and Webb are beginning the Excel By 5 certification process with a financial commitment of up to $283,000 from MSCEI. The certification requires action in four areas: community involvement, early care and education, family and parent support and health. Excel By 5 sets forth a variety of standards involving parent training, community participation, child care and health, to help communities focus on supporting young children and their families. The certification process also identifies available resources and existing best practices to help Excel By 5 Certified Communities reach the goal that all of the children in their community will be ready to learn when they start school at age five. The process usually takes two years to complete, and the certification is awarded for three years.