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ESC Annual Report 2018

EDUCATION SOLUTIONS $6

EDUCATION SOLUTIONS $6 Million Dollars...BAM! $6 million Quality infant/toddler care can impact a child and family’s development over the course of many years. A child who receives quality caregiving and education is given an invaluable start. Healthy brain development is fostered through quality relationships with primary, consistent caregivers who provide predictable routines and promote individuality. The impact of poor caregiving on infants and toddlers can be devastating. Unregulated and poor-quality day care is linked with problem behaviors, negative moods, aggression and conflict in children. In the four counties served by Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area (ESC) there are a very small number of licensed, high-quality caregivers (ESC’s 2016 Community Needs Assessment). Pair that issue with the fact that low-income families in our rural counties have little-to-no access to the resources to obtain high-quality childcare and you have the reason Early Head Start services were created by the Office of Head Start. This identified community need developed into an early childhood opportunity focused on serving children ages zero to 3 years. In March of 2017, ESC was awarded a $6 million dollar grant to expand Early Head Start (EHS) Childcare Partnership (CCP) services in ESC’s service delivery area. With this EHS Childcare Partnership grant, we were able to open new classrooms for newborns to age three children in Lamar, Carthage, Joplin, Noel and Southwest City. Additionally, this grant provided us with the opportunity to partner with two Joplin childcare businesses and assist one in opening her own Family Childcare in Neosho. Erin Yost’s dream was to open her own Family Childcare business in Neosho. Now her dream has come true through the EHS-CCP Grant. When asked about the partnership, she stated that “the partnership means being able to combine our resources and overcome challenges together to better provide for the kids.” Since partnering with EHS- CCP she was able to remodel her lower-level of her home to become a more welcoming, homelike environment for the kids. She has learned and grown personally from the professional childcare training provided and states that this partnership has enabled her to pursue something she is passionate about. Starting a daycare had been something she thought about every so often, but she never explored it. She chose to become an EHS partner because she loves the idea of not only having a positive effect on the kids in her care, but their families as well. She feels this partnership has given her, and continues to give her, the resources to do that. As we move ahead she is looking to gain more experience so that she can continue to grow as a teacher to infants and toddlers. She feels the partnership will impact the community positively by providing more child care options. Kidz Clubhouse is a woman owned business partnership. Myra Gonzalez’s Kidz Clubhouse is located on 20th and Sergeant in grant children ages 0 - 3 years An additional 74 children will receive no-cost, high-quality, comprehensive licensed childcare services. targets families who are working or going to school over a 5 year period 50 new jobs will be created once the grant is fully implemented and 159 childcare professionals have received early childhood training Joplin. She was excited that her childcare center was selected as part of the new EHS-CCP Grant. Ms. Gonzalez’s vision for her childcare program is to give the children high quality childcare and learning experiences. When asked what this partnership means to her, she said “with this partnership my staff and I can grow and offer the families a 28

EDUCATION SOLUTIONS better quality of care.” Myra said they now have a more structured facility, everyone is on the same page, and they are working hard to implement curriculum. Ms. Gonzalez stated that she partners with EHS-CCP because of the professional development she and her staff receive from EHS plus the enrichment and education that EHS provides to the families in their homes. She says that children need structure in their lives and to be surrounded by people who care about their well-being and education. Being a part of EHS will help achieve this goal. Christine Baird is the Owner/ Director of Footprints and Friends, Too LLC located on North Main Street in Joplin. She expressed working with EHS-CCP as a huge blessing. Before working with Early Head Start, she had been turning families away monthly and her waiting list was getting longer and longer. This opportunity allowed her to expand her business to a second location, which also opened additional spots for kids on her waiting list. With our community low in infant care the grant allowed her to remodel two classrooms, adding eight EHS spots and an additional infant room for six children under the age of two. The EHS-CCP Grant allows her to give back to the community by using funds to increase her teachers’ education levels. Also, by setting higher educational standards this produces quality care for our infants and toddlers in our community. Ms. Baird feels the children in her center have an advantage because teachers’ expectations are set at a higher level. With having a specialized team come in to monitor the children’s developmental milestones, work with the parents and teachers, and focus on social and emotional growth; the support alone for EHS families is priceless. Ms. Baird believes this partnership in the last six months has already made huge progress. “This grant allowed us to turn around and give right back to the community with much needed quality child care and will continue to help staff grow as well as all the children we serve.” Opening new infant/toddler classrooms requires coordination between many different people. While there were several vendors who provided services through this expansion, there was one who stood out above the rest. Derek Krogh is the Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas Regional Manager for Lakeshore Learning Materials and has been an integral part of getting the classroom equipment and materials needed on time. In addition to excellent products, Lakeshore also offers free premium white glove services on all complete classroom purchases including free shipping, free classroom setup, and free debris removal. EHS has had an extremely positive experience having a vendor who accompanies every truck delivery and stays to make sure that every product received is in excellent condition. Thank you Mr. Krogh, and thank you Lakeshore Learning! 29

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