Excel by 5

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Poplarville Excel By 5 Open House

Dr. Suess sums it up best: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Reading to children unlocks to the door to their future. This week, as children across America celebrate the great writer, parents are reminded just how important it is to read to their kids. The earlier the better, according to experts - even when they're infants.

Click here to read the complete article by Meggan Gray of WLOX


Foundation supports PRCC’s work with Excel By 5

POPLARVILLE - A major grant from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation will allow Pearl River Community College to provide a resource and referral site for Poplarville’s Excel by 5 program and The Early Years Network.

One of the requirements for Poplarville to advance from Excel by 5 Candidate Community status to Certified Early Childhood Community status is to have a physical location for the program. The $113,500 will provide the majority of the funds needed for the center.

“The foundation’s grant will provide funds to modify an existing building located on the Pearl River Community College campus to house an initiative to provide early learning opportunities and resource materials for children up through age 5,” said Sid Whitley, chief executive officer of the foundation.

The former commercial truck driving classroom building north of the PRCC football stadium will be expanded to house the early childhood activities. The project, expected to take about six months, will more than double the size of the building.

“The long-term benefits of this grant are going to be tremendous,” said Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president. “As this feeds on itself over the years, you’ll see the benefits in the schools. You’ll see the benefits in the families. It will be huge.”

The goal of the Excel by 5 program is to improve a child’s overall well-being by age 5. The program sets forth a variety of standards involving parent training, community participation, childcare and health to support young children and their families by identifying available resources and existing best practices. The primary goal is to have children ready to learn when they start school.

The Early Childhood Network emphasizes improving quality of care for Mississippi’s youngest and most vulnerable population and increasing school readiness. It provides workshops and continuing education units for early care and education providers.


Congratulations to Poplarville, MS

Madison, MS., July 9, 2014What can we say about early childhood education? Is it a good thing to wrap a newborn, a toddler or a four-year old in loving kindness and nurture them with thoughtful instruction?

Are parents a child’s first teacher and should they accept ultimate responsibility for nurturing their children? Yes and yes, we all agree.

Should aunts and uncles, grandparents, brothers and sisters all play supporting roles in helping parents nurture their children? Certainly they should and we can even point to circumstances where grandparents or other family members stepped in and did a wonderful job as a substitute parent.

And what about a church, the local library, a child care provider, the family doctor, or a close friend? Are all of these valuable resources to parents, and their young children and do parents need and deserve their support? The answer: a unified yes.

So what can we say about early childhood education? How can communities excel at supporting parents?

Mississippi’s own Excel By 5 is helping communities do just this all across the Magnolia State. Eighteen locations have completed the requirements to become a Certified Early Childhood Community and fifteen other communities are also hard at work. They’ve all established community coalitions, performed community-wide needs assessments, and they are closing gaps to improve health care, child care, and parent support.

Community leaders representing hospitals, schools, doctors, libraries, parents, and a host of others are coming together to focus on supporting parents and children. It’s an amazing thing to see what Excel By 5 certified communities and Excel By 5 candidate communities are doing to help children be healthy, happy and ready for school when they reach kindergarten.            

So it’s with great pride that we recognize Poplarville, Mississippi as the latest addition to Mississippi’s family of Excel By 5 candidate communities. Congratulations!