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Grant boosts OVEC efforts to prepare Henry County’s youngest students for school

Grant boosts OVEC efforts to prepare Henry County’s youngest students for school

The Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative’s (OVEC’s) Community Early Childhood Council (CECC) got a $50,800 boost today in their work to prepare Henry County’s youngest students for school along with children in Gallatin, Shelby, Spencer, and Trimble counties.

OVEC’s CECC will share in nearly $1.2 million for 58 Community Early Childhood Councils in 91 Kentucky counties to promote school readiness for children.  Governor Steve Beshear announced the grants today.

“These grants will help communities give our children the best possible start in school and in life,” Gov. Beshear said. “Every child in the Commonwealth, from the most rural farm to the inner city, deserves the opportunity for a promising life. Local Councils are most qualified to serve the needs of the children in their communities.”

OVEC’s CECC grant will focus on preparing children birth to five years for a successful transition into kindergarten.  They will work closely with private child care providers in each county as well as with the public preschool programs and Head Start programs.

A lending library will be established in each county with screening and instructional materials designed for young children.  Professional learning experiences for child care providers and teaching staff will be provided along with parent and community awareness training of what is needed to prepare children for a positive school experience.

OVEC’s CECC is comprised of community volunteers from local school districts, public health departments, childcare providers, Head Start, local libraries, parents and interest groups in many other areas.

The work of the CECC in Henry County will interconnect with the school districts work in one of the nation’s largest District-Race to the Top grants.  Henry County is one of 22 Kentucky school districts that will launch a four-year effort to close the Kindergarten readiness gap as part of Race to the Top this fall.

The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood (KYGOEC) and the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), both created by Gov. Beshear in 2011, work closely with Community Early Childhood Councils across the Commonwealth to ensure a strong start for our children on a local level. Individual grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 per county.

CECCs develop strategies for improving early childhood care and education by assessing the unique needs of each community and building upon current strengths to explore creative ways to meet those needs. This year’s grant applications asked CECC’s to use county-level data to develop collaborative strategies focused on improving school readiness.

The CECCs utilized the Early Childhood Profile, a county-by-county profile that shows kindergarten readiness data, participation in publicly funded Preschool, Head Start and child care; quality and availability of child care and the education of the early childhood workforce; and demographic data that represent key indicators of possible barriers to success for young children and their families as a planning tool.

“Making sure that every child in the Commonwealth gets the best possible start in life must be everyone’s priority,” KYGOEC Executive Director Terry Tolan said.

For additional information please contact Mary Comer, Preschool Disabilities Consultant, Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative at (502) 647-3533  ext. 281 or mcomer@ovec.org.

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