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  • Biloxi pediatrician emphasizes importance of childhood vaccines

    Biloxi pediatrician emphasizes importance of childhood vaccines

    Thursday, June 23 2016 11:19 AM EDT2016-06-23 15:19:16 GMT
    Photo Source: WLOX NewsPhoto Source: WLOX News

    They're scary, just a pinch painful, but oh so necessary. Meggan Gray visited Coastal Family Health's pediatric clinic on Division Street in Biloxi to talk with a doctor about children's immunizations.

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    They're scary, just a pinch painful, but oh so necessary. Meggan Gray visited Coastal Family Health's pediatric clinic on Division Street in Biloxi to talk with a doctor about children's immunizations.

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  • Free reading program in Hancock County inspires young children to read

    Free reading program in Hancock County inspires young children to read

    Thursday, June 9 2016 11:45 AM EDT2016-06-09 15:45:43 GMT
    Hancock County Excel by 5 and Library System partner for free reading program. (Photo Courtesy: WLOX News)Hancock County Excel by 5 and Library System partner for free reading program. (Photo Courtesy: WLOX News)

    Experts agree - reading to your children is one of the best things you can do to help them grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn. Did you know two-thirds of the language a person will use as an adult is acquired by age three? That's one reason Excel by 5 wants to get little ones excited about reading. 

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    Experts agree - reading to your children is one of the best things you can do to help them grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn. Did you know two-thirds of the language a person will use as an adult is acquired by age three? That's one reason Excel by 5 wants to get little ones excited about reading. 

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  • Kangaroo Care: Mother's magic touch works wonders for newborns

    Kangaroo Care: Mother's magic touch works wonders for newborns

    Thursday, May 12 2016 11:10 AM EDT2016-05-12 15:10:30 GMT
    Thursday, May 12 2016 11:10 AM EDT2016-05-12 15:10:29 GMT
    Skin to skin contact helps newborns thrive. (Photo Source: WLOX)Skin to skin contact helps newborns thrive. (Photo Source: WLOX)

    More and more health care professionals are urging mothers to place their newborns on their bare chests, giving them skin to skin contact. It's called "Kangaroo Care," and it can be especially important for babies born premature.

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    More and more health care professionals are urging mothers to place their newborns on their bare chests, giving them skin to skin contact. It's called "Kangaroo Care," and it can be especially important for babies born premature.

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  • Ladies of PGA Champions Tour host "golf" day for Biloxi children

    Ladies of PGA Champions Tour host "golf" day for Biloxi children

    Thursday, March 31 2016 11:03 AM EDT2016-03-31 15:03:27 GMT
    Thursday, March 31 2016 11:03 AM EDT2016-03-31 15:03:27 GMT
    Ladies of PGA Champions Tour interact with kids at Biloxi Excel by 5 "golf" day (Source: WLOX)Ladies of PGA Champions Tour interact with kids at Biloxi Excel by 5 "golf" day (Source: WLOX)

    With the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic teeing off Friday at Fallen Oak, the Biloxi Excel by 5 coalition wanted to celebrate with some golf themed activities for our youngest pros. The ladies and wives of the PGA Champions Tour helped make it happen.

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    With the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic teeing off Friday at Fallen Oak, the Biloxi Excel by 5 coalition wanted to celebrate with some golf themed activities for our youngest pros. The ladies and wives of the PGA Champions Tour helped make it happen.

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  • Toy lending library in Gulfport provides thousands of free materials for parents

    Toy lending library in Gulfport provides thousands of free materials for parents

    Thursday, March 17 2016 4:33 AM EDT2016-03-17 08:33:40 GMT
    Thursday, March 17 2016 8:31 AM EDT2016-03-17 12:31:21 GMT
    (Photo Source: WLOX)(Photo Source: WLOX)

    Let's face it. Toys can be expensive, especially if you're trying to keep up with the ever-changing stages of your infant or toddler. That's where a toy lending library can come in handy.

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    Let's face it. Toys can be expensive, especially if you're trying to keep up with the ever-changing stages of your infant or toddler. That's where a toy lending library can come in handy.

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  • Poplarville Excel by 5 open house Thursday promises free family fun

    Poplarville Excel by 5 open house Thursday promises free family fun

    Thursday, March 3 2016 10:24 AM EST2016-03-03 15:24:01 GMT
    Thursday, March 3 2016 10:29 AM EST2016-03-03 15:29:46 GMT
    (Photo Source: Poplarville Excel by 5)(Photo Source: Poplarville Excel by 5)

    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."  Poplarville's Excel by 5 hosts Dr. Seuss birthday bash and open house today.

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    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."  Poplarville's Excel by 5 hosts Dr. Seuss birthday bash and open house today.

    More >>
  • Experts: Safe nursery, safe sleep saves babies

    Experts: Safe nursery, safe sleep saves babies

    Friday, December 11 2015 11:14 AM EST2015-12-11 16:14:43 GMT
    Wednesday, February 17 2016 11:09 PM EST2016-02-18 04:09:15 GMT
    The nursery should be a safe, relaxing environment for your infant. More >>

    The nursery should be a safe, relaxing environment for your infant.

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  • Ready to Learn: Breast milk provides endless benefits for newborns and moms

    Ready to Learn: Breast milk provides endless benefits for newborns and moms

    Friday, December 11 2015 11:32 AM EST2015-12-11 16:32:44 GMT
    Thursday, February 4 2016 3:29 PM EST2016-02-04 20:29:49 GMT
    Nourishing your baby from day one is a very important part of making sure they grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. More >>

    Nourishing your baby from day one is a very important part of making sure they grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.

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  • Resource guide offers new parents valuable information at their fingertips

    Resource guide offers new parents valuable information at their fingertips

    Friday, December 11 2015 11:23 AM EST2015-12-11 16:23:33 GMT
    Thursday, January 21 2016 4:00 AM EST2016-01-21 09:00:19 GMT
    It can be quite overwhelming to be a new parent, but there are resources available to help.  More >>

    It can be quite overwhelming to be a new parent, but there are resources available to help. 

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  • Dolly Parton's Imagination Library brings free books to children in South Mississippi

    Dolly Parton's Imagination Library brings free books to children in South Mississippi

    Thursday, December 10 2015 10:42 AM EST2015-12-10 15:42:18 GMT
    Thursday, January 7 2016 4:00 AM EST2016-01-07 09:00:13 GMT

    Opening a world of imagination to hundreds of thousands of children across the world.

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    Opening a world of imagination to hundreds of thousands of children across the world.

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  • Resolutions to help your little ones grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn

    Resolutions to help your little ones grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn

    Wednesday, December 9 2015 11:47 AM EST2015-12-09 16:47:52 GMT
    Thursday, December 24 2015 4:00 AM EST2015-12-24 09:00:13 GMT
    As many people look forward to the new year, it's the perfect time to start planning ways to help your child grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. More >>

    As many people look forward to the new year, it's the perfect time to start planning ways to help your child grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.

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  • Top five toys for children birth to age five this Christmas

    Top five toys for children birth to age five this Christmas

    Thursday, November 26 2015 9:52 AM EST2015-11-26 14:52:23 GMT
    Thursday, November 26 2015 11:04 AM EST2015-11-26 16:04:09 GMT
    Top five toys for children birth to age five (Source: WLOX news)Top five toys for children birth to age five (Source: WLOX news)
    After enjoying the Thanksgiving feast, the countdown is on. Do you know what you'll be getting your little ones for Christmas yet? Meggan Gray shares the top five toys this holiday season.More >>

    After enjoying the Thanksgiving feast, the countdown is on. Do you know what you'll be getting your little ones for Christmas yet? Meggan Gray shares the top five toys this holiday season.

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  • Home should be the center of learning for young children

    Home should be the center of learning for young children

    Thursday, October 29 2015 11:35 AM EDT2015-10-29 15:35:55 GMT
    Thursday, October 29 2015 11:35 AM EDT2015-10-29 15:35:55 GMT
    If you have three or four year olds, chances are they are enrolled in some sort of childcare program. And while they are learning valuable lessons in that social classroom setting, it's important that we, as parents, remember the real center of learning is in the home.More >>
    If you have three or four year olds, chances are they are enrolled in some sort of childcare program. And while they are learning valuable lessons in that social classroom setting, it's important that we, as parents, remember the real center of learning is in the home.More >>
  • Mom credits Memorial Hospital's NICU for baby's success

    Thursday, October 1 2015 12:09 PM EDT2015-10-01 16:09:27 GMT
    Thursday, October 1 2015 12:09 PM EDT2015-10-01 16:09:26 GMT
    Baby Braxton receives care at Memorial Hospital's NICU (Photo Source: WLOX News)Baby Braxton receives care at Memorial Hospital's NICU (Photo Source: WLOX News)
    It nurtures and cares for the tiniest of babies so they can grow up to be happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Memorial Hospital at Gulfport is home to south Mississippi's only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  About a month ago, it opened a brand new NICU - a beautiful, tranquil space for babies and their families.More >>
    It nurtures and cares for the tiniest of babies so they can grow up to be happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Memorial Hospital at Gulfport is home to south Mississippi's only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  About a month ago, it opened a brand new NICU - a beautiful, tranquil space for babies and their families.More >>
  • Free health fair in Biloxi helps prepare toddlers for school

    Free health fair in Biloxi helps prepare toddlers for school

    Thursday, August 20 2015 10:11 AM EDT2015-08-20 14:11:33 GMT
    Thursday, August 20 2015 10:11 AM EDT2015-08-20 14:11:33 GMT
    There's a wonderful opportunity for parents in Biloxi this weekend to help their children grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn. Biloxi Excel by 5 is hosting a free health and safety fair at Edgewater Mall on Saturday, August 22.It's specifically designed for children birth to age five, and it offers a wide variety of very important activities and health screenings -things like hearing, vision, and language screenings, which are all important to check ...More >>
    There's a wonderful opportunity for parents in Biloxi this weekend to help their children grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn. Biloxi Excel by 5 is hosting a free health and safety fair at Edgewater Mall on Saturday, August 22.It's specifically designed for children birth to age five, and it offers a wide variety of very important activities and health screenings -things like hearing, vision, and language screenings, which are all important to check ...More >>
  • What parents should be doing now to prepare their children for Kindergarten

    What parents should be doing now to prepare their children for Kindergarten

    Thursday, July 9 2015 11:08 AM EDT2015-07-09 15:08:23 GMT
    Thursday, July 9 2015 11:08 AM EDT2015-07-09 15:08:23 GMT
    (Photo Source: WLOX News)(Photo Source: WLOX News)
    Preparing your five your old for Kindergarten is a significant milestone in growing up Happy, Healthy, and ready to learn.In a matter of weeks, tears will be shed by both parents and their little ones as they venture into the classroom for that first day of school. Experts say you can help ease your child's separation anxiety by going to an open house at their school, so they can familiarize themselves with the classroom.More >>
    Preparing your five your old for Kindergarten is a significant milestone in growing up Happy, Healthy, and ready to learn.In a matter of weeks, tears will be shed by both parents and their little ones as they venture into the classroom for that first day of school. Experts say you can help ease your child's separation anxiety by going to an open house at their school, so they can familiarize themselves with the classroom.More >>
  • Practicing water safety with young children saves lives

    Practicing water safety with young children saves lives

    Thursday, June 25 2015 11:24 AM EDT2015-06-25 15:24:17 GMT
    Thursday, June 25 2015 11:36 AM EDT2015-06-25 15:36:38 GMT
    Parents are the best defense against drowning incidents with young children.Parents are the best defense against drowning incidents with young children.
    Staying safe while having fun this summer is vital to helping your child grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Most children love the water and jump at any opportunity to play in it. But whether you're letting your little one just play at a splash pad, or in an inflatable pool in the backyard, or taking them swimming in a larger pool, the most important thing to remember is you ALWAYS have to be watching them.More >>
    Staying safe while having fun this summer is vital to helping your child grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Most children love the water and jump at any opportunity to play in it. But whether you're letting your little one just play at a splash pad, or in an inflatable pool in the backyard, or taking them swimming in a larger pool, the most important thing to remember is you ALWAYS have to be watching them.More >>
  • Mississippi recognized for quality preschool

    Mississippi recognized for quality preschool

    Thursday, May 14 2015 10:35 AM EDT2015-05-14 14:35:57 GMT
    Thursday, May 14 2015 10:35 AM EDT2015-05-14 14:35:57 GMT
    Mississippi among five states recognized for quality state-funded Pre-KMississippi among five states recognized for quality state-funded Pre-K
    Mississippi is highlighted in a new report, saying our state gets a gold star for quality preschool. The report from the National Institute for Early Education Research looked at state-funded preschool programs, it named Mississippi as one of five states that met all ten benchmarks for quality preschool.More >>
    Mississippi is highlighted in a new report, saying our state gets a gold star for quality preschool. The report from the National Institute for Early Education Research looked at state-funded preschool programs, it named Mississippi as one of five states that met all ten benchmarks for quality preschool.More >>
  • Toddlers, tablets and smart phones: Parents need appropriate content

    Toddlers, tablets and smart phones: Parents need appropriate content

    Wednesday, April 29 2015 11:31 AM EDT2015-04-29 15:31:05 GMT
    Thursday, April 30 2015 4:44 AM EDT2015-04-30 08:44:33 GMT
    Monitoring your child's interaction on smart devices is essential (Photo Source: WLOX News)Monitoring your child's interaction on smart devices is essential (Photo Source: WLOX News)
    Helping our children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn can be a bit tricky in this tech-savvy world we live in. How many of you have handed over your tablet or smartphone to your toddler before? More and more parents are starting to rely on smart devices to help keep their children entertained, at the grocery store, in a restaurant, in the car - you name it.More >>
    Helping our children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn can be a bit tricky in this tech-savvy world we live in. How many of you have handed over your tablet or smartphone to your toddler before? More and more parents are starting to rely on smart devices to help keep their children entertained, at the grocery store, in a restaurant, in the car - you name it.More >>
  • March of Dimes: healthy babies are worth the wait

    March of Dimes: healthy babies are worth the wait

    Thursday, April 16 2015 11:22 AM EDT2015-04-16 15:22:21 GMT
    Thursday, April 16 2015 11:22 AM EDT2015-04-16 15:22:21 GMT
    Making sure your children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn starts at birth. Every mom wants a healthy baby. That's also the mission of the March of Dimes.According to the March of Dimes, women need to be pregnant at least 39 weeks before giving birth. That's because babies are still developing up until that point. So March of Dimes wants moms-to-be to know "Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait."More >>
    Making sure your children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn starts at birth. Every mom wants a healthy baby. That's also the mission of the March of Dimes.According to the March of Dimes, women need to be pregnant at least 39 weeks before giving birth. That's because babies are still developing up until that point. So March of Dimes wants moms-to-be to know "Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait."More >>
  • Health Department extends hours to help parents "beat the rush" for school immunizations

    Health Department extends hours to help parents "beat the rush" for school immunizations

    Thursday, April 2 2015 5:08 AM EDT2015-04-02 09:08:05 GMT
    Thursday, April 2 2015 5:08 AM EDT2015-04-02 09:08:06 GMT
    MS Health Dept. helps parents "Beat the Rush" for required school immunizationsMS Health Dept. helps parents "Beat the Rush" for required school immunizations
    For parents who are about to enroll their child in school for the first time, don't forget about vaccinations! You'll find part of the enrollment process is getting your child's shots up to date. That's why our health department is hosting "Beat the Rush" immunization clinics this month.More >>
    For parents who are about to enroll their child in school for the first time, don't forget about vaccinations! You'll find part of the enrollment process is getting your child's shots up to date. That's why our health department is hosting "Beat the Rush" immunization clinics this month.More >>
  • Biloxi Family Resource Center provides free learning opportunities

    Biloxi Family Resource Center provides free learning opportunities

    Thursday, March 19 2015 6:28 AM EDT2015-03-19 10:28:58 GMT
    Thursday, March 19 2015 6:41 AM EDT2015-03-19 10:41:25 GMT
    Endless learning possibilities at Biloxi Family Resource CenterEndless learning possibilities at Biloxi Family Resource Center
    There's a colorful, bright little spot - a world that nurtures learning, tucked away on a quiet Biloxi street. You'll find it behind Lopez School on St. John Avenue, just north of Keesler Air Force Base. Biloxi's Excel by 5 coalition runs the Biloxi Family Resource Center. It's a hidden jewel that is helping so many little ones grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
    There's a colorful, bright little spot - a world that nurtures learning, tucked away on a quiet Biloxi street. You'll find it behind Lopez School on St. John Avenue, just north of Keesler Air Force Base. Biloxi's Excel by 5 coalition runs the Biloxi Family Resource Center. It's a hidden jewel that is helping so many little ones grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • Seuss: 'You're never too wacky or wild to read to a child'

    Seuss: 'You're never too wacky or wild to read to a child'

    Thursday, March 5 2015 5:48 AM EST2015-03-05 10:48:33 GMT
    Thursday, March 5 2015 8:30 AM EST2015-03-05 13:30:20 GMT
    Parents and children celebrate Dr. Suess' 111th BirthdayParents and children celebrate Dr. Suess' 111th Birthday
    Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, continues to inspire readers of all ages. For in his words, "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child." Meggan Gray found some fun ways to parents to celebrate what would have been Dr. Seuss' 111th Birthday.More >>
    Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, continues to inspire readers of all ages. For in his words, "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child." Meggan Gray found some fun ways to parents to celebrate what would have been Dr. Seuss' 111th Birthday.
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  • Toddler snacks often have too much sugar & salt

    Toddler snacks often have too much sugar & salt

    Thursday, February 19 2015 11:32 AM EST2015-02-19 16:32:51 GMT
    Thursday, February 19 2015 11:32 AM EST2015-02-19 16:32:53 GMT
    Many mommies and daddies are giving up sugary foods this Lenten season, so why not try cutting back on sweets for your toddler, too?A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost one in four U.S. children ages two to five are overweight or obese. It points to packaged meals and snacks for toddlers as the culprits, saying they often contain too much sugar and salt.More >>
    Many mommies and daddies are giving up sugary foods this Lenten season, so why not try cutting back on sweets for your toddler, too?A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost one in four U.S. children ages two to five are overweight or obese. It points to packaged meals and snacks for toddlers as the culprits, saying they often contain too much sugar and salt.More >>
  • Early education advocates: "Early Head Start is the gold standard"

    Early education advocates: "Early Head Start is the gold standard"

    Thursday, January 22 2015 10:35 AM EST2015-01-22 15:35:05 GMT
    Thursday, January 22 2015 10:35 AM EST2015-01-22 15:35:07 GMT

    There are federally funded programs aimed at offering quality childcare for families who can't afford it. One of those, is Head Start. All 82 counties in Mississippi offer Head Start, but very few offer Early Head Start programs. In fact, the only one in Harrison County can be found at Moore Community House on Walker Street in Biloxi.

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    There are federally funded programs aimed at offering quality childcare for families who can't afford it. One of those, is Head Start. All 82 counties in Mississippi offer Head Start, but very few offer Early Head Start programs. In fact, the only one in Harrison County can be found at Moore Community House on Walker Street in Biloxi.
    More >>
  • Williams Barnes: "Kindergarten should be mandatory"

    Williams Barnes: "Kindergarten should be mandatory"

    Friday, January 9 2015 11:30 AM EST2015-01-09 16:30:15 GMT
    Friday, January 9 2015 11:30 AM EST2015-01-09 16:30:17 GMT
    Rep. Sonya Williams Barnes to push for mandatory Kindergarten againRep. Sonya Williams Barnes to push for mandatory Kindergarten again

    Education is supposed to take center stage this legislative session. And while common core will likely bore the brunt of discussions, early education will also be a focal point for some lawmakers. Representative Sonya Williams Barnes of  Gulfport is an advocate for public education. She told WLOX News, her first priority is to introduce a bill that would require all Mississippi five year olds to attend Kindergarten. 

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    Education is supposed to take center stage this legislative session. And while common core will likely bore the brunt of discussions, early education will also be a focal point for some lawmakers. Representative Sonya Williams Barnes of  Gulfport is an advocate for public education. She told WLOX News, her first priority is to introduce a bill that would require all Mississippi five year olds to attend Kindergarten. 
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  • Mississippi left out of $250 million in federal grants for early education

    Mississippi left out of $250 million in federal grants for early education

    Thursday, December 11 2014 9:25 AM EST2014-12-11 14:25:17 GMT
    Thursday, December 11 2014 9:25 AM EST2014-12-11 14:25:18 GMT

    The federal government this week just awarded $750 million in grants to support early learning for more than 63,000 children across the country. According to the White House, $250 of that was earmarked specifically for states looking to expand preschool programs in areas that need it most. You would think Mississippi would be a good candidate. We applied, but didn't get it. Louisiana and Alabama were among the 18 states that did receive grants.

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    The federal government this week just awarded $750 million in grants to support early learning for more than 63,000 children across the country. According to the White House, $250 of that was earmarked specifically for states looking to expand preschool programs in areas that need it most. You would think Mississippi would be a good candidate. We applied, but didn't get it. Louisiana and Alabama were among the 18 states that did receive grants.

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  • Thanksgiving breakfast ideas create learning moments for your children

    Thanksgiving breakfast ideas create learning moments for your children

    Wednesday, November 26 2014 12:18 PM EST2014-11-26 17:18:49 GMT
    Thursday, November 27 2014 4:00 PM EST2014-11-27 21:00:44 GMT
    Thanksgiving is all about coming together with family, but before the crowds start showing up, why not carve out a little special time this holiday morning for your children. Kim Gowdy with the Mississippi State Extension Service stepped into Meggan Gray's kitchen to show her how easy it can be to create lasting and educational memories.More >>
    Thanksgiving is all about coming together with family, but before the crowds start showing up, why not carve out a little special time this holiday morning for your children. Kim Gowdy with the Mississippi State Extension Service stepped into Meggan Gray's kitchen to show her how easy it can be to create lasting and educational memories.More >>
  • Early Learning Standards help prepare students for kindergarten

    Early Learning Standards help prepare students for kindergarten

    Thursday, November 13 2014 7:23 AM EST2014-11-13 12:23:50 GMT
    Thursday, November 13 2014 9:31 AM EST2014-11-13 14:31:14 GMT
    The Early Learning Standards are guidelines set forth by the Mississippi Department of Education, to be used in the classroom with four year olds. And because they follow common core standards, they are intended to ensure children enter Kindergarten with the knowledge they need to excel.More >>
    The Early Learning Standards are guidelines set forth by the Mississippi Department of Education, to be used in the classroom with four year olds. And because they follow common core standards, they are intended to ensure children enter Kindergarten with the knowledge they need to excel.More >>
  • New data shows free Pre-K program in Harrison County is working

    New data shows free Pre-K program in Harrison County is working

    Thursday, October 30 2014 9:29 AM EDT2014-10-30 13:29:13 GMT
    Thursday, October 30 2014 9:29 AM EDT2014-10-30 13:29:14 GMT
    When five year olds entered Kindergarten this year, they were evaluated to see how prepared they were for school. The results from the Mississippi Department of Education's first "Star Early Literacy Assessment" weren't very good. The numbers suggest a majority of children in our state were not ready to enter Kindergarten. The project director for South Mississippi's PreK4ward initiative shared her reaction with Meggan Gray.More >>
    When five year olds entered Kindergarten this year, they were evaluated to see how prepared they were for school. The results from the Mississippi Department of Education's first "Star Early Literacy Assessment" weren't very good. The numbers suggest a majority of children in our state were not ready to enter Kindergarten. The project director for South Mississippi's PreK4ward initiative shared her reaction with Meggan Gray.More >>
  • Saving premature babies using donated mother's milk

    Saving premature babies using donated mother's milk

    Mother's milk is a miracle worker when it comes to nursing premature babies back to health. "The mother's milk, it somehow knows what this baby or these babies need," said Stephanie Gable. As a certifiedMore >>
    They're tiny, and defenseless. The most at-risk premature babies are prescribed mother's milk in order to survive. Mississippi is striving to save more babies by making mother's milk more readily available.More >>
  • Mississippi's PreK pilot program moves forward in Picayune

    Mississippi's PreK pilot program moves forward in Picayune

    Mississippi's pilot preK program is moving forward, helping more little ones grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Our state took a historic step by passing the Early Learning Collaborative Act lastMore >>

    Mississippi's pilot preK program is moving forward. Our state took a historic step by passing the Early Learning Collaborative Act in 2013. Only one of the 11 communities selected to participate was in south Mississippi -  Picayune. More >>

  • Stone County becomes Excel by 5 certified

    Stone County becomes Excel by 5 certified

    Another south Mississippi community is making strides in helping children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Stone County is the newest Excel by 5 Certified community. Judy Bechtel, one of theMore >>
    Another south Mississippi community is making strides in helping children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Stone County is the newest Excel by 5 Certified community.More >>
  • Preparing your child for Kindergarten

    Preparing your child for Kindergarten

    It's one of the most important aspects to making sure your little one grows up happy, healthy, and ready to learn - preparing for kindergarten. "This is their foundation. Because from birth to fiveMore >>
    It's one of the most important aspects to making sure your little one grows up happy, healthy,
    and ready to learn - preparing for kindergarten. Meggan Gray sat down with the Instructor director of Early Childhood Education at the JD Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to find out how to best prepare four year olds for school.
    More >>
  • Does your preschooler need speech therapy?

    Does your preschooler need speech therapy?

    Speech is an important developmental milestone for toddlers. Parents often worry if their children are talking enough by age two; what they don't realize is it's actually a two-fold issue.More >>
    Speech is an important developmental milestone for toddlers.  Parents often worry if their children are talking enough by age two; what they don't realize is it's actually a two-fold issue.  Professional therapists will tell you it's important to evaluate a child's speech and language.More >>
  • Patience is key for managing temper tantrums

    Patience is key for managing temper tantrums

    It's probably one of the most challenging parts of parenting - managing those inevitable temper tantrums. It may be called the "terrible twos," but many parents say they notice it more around age threeMore >>
    It's probably one of the most challenging parts of parenting - managing those inevitable temper tantrums. It may be called the "terrible twos," but many parents say they notice it more around age three - A strong-willed toddler throws a fit when he or she doesn't get what they want. A Gulfport child psychiatrist offers advice for parents.More >>
  • Mississippi's first pre-K program moves forward

    Mississippi's first pre-K program moves forward

    The state's first pre-K program is moving forward. The Mississippi Department of Education will start dispersing nearly $3 million in February to help bring more quality education to pre-schoolers. ElevenMore >>
    The Mississippi Department of Education will start dispersing nearly $3 million in February to help bring more quality education to pre-schoolers. Eleven groups across the state are receiving a big chunk of that money.More >>
  • Choosing quality child care in south Mississippi

    Choosing quality child care in south Mississippi

    "I think the first thing is. Don't make an appointment." Charlotte Orsborn says impromptu visits to child care facilities are the best way to see them in action. "You need to just drop in, you knowMore >>
    So many working parents rely on child care centers to be a home away from home for their children. Meggan Gray found some expert advice for parents who are in the process of choosing a child care provider.More >>
  • Biloxi Excel by 5 teaches tots valuable skills for Kindergarten

    Biloxi Excel by 5 teaches tots valuable skills for Kindergarten

    "Hickory dickory dock. The mouse ran up the clock." About ten students recite nursery rhymes at the Biloxi Excel by 5 Family Resource Center at the old Lopez school. They're taking part in a free classMore >>
    "Teaching Tots on Tuesdays" caters to children ages three to five. They meet once every other month at the Biloxi Excel by 5 Family Resource Center, to learn vital skills for Kindergarten.More >>
  • STEM Zone brings the "science" of golf to life for toddlers

    STEM Zone brings the "science" of golf to life for toddlers

    What do math and science have to do with the game of golf? A lot, if you ask the director of Chevron's Strategic Partnerships, Glenn Weckerlin. "It's a little bit of a traveling road show for us, butMore >>
    The Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic this week is helping little ones gain an interest in math and science.  How you ask?? Well, through an interactive exhibit that travels to various sporting events. But this time, it has a brand new component specifically for children birth to age five.  Meggan Gray takes you inside the STEM Zone at Fallen Oak.More >>
  • Hancock County's Excel by 5 gives children new resources

    Hancock County's Excel by 5 gives children new resources

    Jack and the Beanstalk, Humpty Dumpty, and Peter Rabbit - The children's library inside Hancock County's Bay St. Louis branch is already filled with fairy tales and nursery rhymes, perfect for piquingMore >>
    Exciting things are happening in Hancock County right now for children birth to age five. As Meggan Gray found out, the county's Excel by 5 coalition has been working very hard to give parents new resources to help their children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • Mississippi's first collection site for donor breast milk

    Mississippi's first collection site for donor breast milk

    It's a unique approach to helping some of the tiniest babies not only survive, but also thrive. Memorial Hospital at Gulfport recently became the only collection site in the state for donor breast milk.More >>
    It's a unique approach to helping some of the tiniest babies not only survive, but also thrive. Memorial Hospital at Gulfport recently became the only collection site in the state for donor breast milk. In some cases, the donor milk is the best option for babies born too soon.More >>
  • PreK4Ward prepares kindergartners for core curriculum

    PreK4Ward prepares kindergartners for core curriculum

    Gulfport four-year-olds are getting a jump start on their education, by attending one of the state's only free, pre-K four classes.More >>
    Education is a critical issue facing the nation right now, especially here in Mississippi. Many believe the key to breaking the cycle is reaching out to our children before they enter kindergarten. That's what Gulfport's PreK4Ward pilot program is all about.More >>
  • Protect toddlers' teeth with early trips to the dentist

    Protect toddlers' teeth with early trips to the dentist

    Strange new sounds and unfamiliar tools - it's no wonder why some little ones are a bit nervous about their first trip to the dentist. But if you want to limit those visits, the best thing you can doMore >>
    No doubt even the littlest of ghouls and goblins are hoarding some pretty impressive Halloween treats Thursday. But toddler beware - All that sugar is harmful to your teeth. Meggan Gray reminds parents about the importance of good dental hygiene for your preschoolers, and how it can help little ones grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • 5 Things doctors wish you'd do for your preschooler

    5 Things doctors wish you'd do for your preschooler

    Some advice this Thursday morning from the experts on how to help your little one grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Doctors are weighing in on babycenter.com about the top five things they wishMore >>
    Some advice this Thursday morning from the experts on how to help your little one grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • Excel by 5 summit highlights importance of early development

    Excel by 5 summit highlights importance of early development

    Excel by 5 held its fourth annual summit in Jackson Wednesday. Meggan Gray was there to get an update on the initiative.More >>
    Leaders across this state who are dedicated to helping children birth to age five grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn just met for a celebration of sorts. Excel by 5 held its fourth annual summit in Jackson Wednesday. Meggan Gray was there to get an update on the initiative that is changing the way Mississippi thinks about early childhood education.More >>
  • Everyday moments can be teaching moments

    Everyday moments can be teaching moments

    Children, especially five and under, are so eager to connect with adults. Here are some easy ways to build your little one's confidence and their knowledge, with some advice from the organization, Born Learning.More >>
  • Little mended hearts hold big hopes

    Little mended hearts hold big hopes

    Governor Phil Bryant has declared February 7-14 as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week for our state. CHD is one of the most common birth defects, affecting about 1 in every 100 babies. Meggan Gray has an update on a CHD baby WLOX viewers met last year.More >>
  • Top 5 toys for children 0-2

    Top 5 toys for children 0-2

    Toy shopping can be overwhelming! Kim Gowdy, an area agent with the Mississippi State Extension Service, has some suggestions for gifts that are not only entertaining for children, but also educational.More >>
  • Mothers' milk is the best medicine for premature babies

    Mothers' milk is the best medicine for premature babies

    Thursday is the March of Dimes first World Prematurity Day. In Mississippi, one in eight babies will be born premature. Those that are born in the lower six counties will be cared for by south Mississippi's only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport.  It has a full staff of certified neonatologists, but as Meggan Gray found out, it's the mothers that  really hold the key to their baby's success.More >>
  • Gulfport free pre-K expands to Hancock County

    Gulfport free pre-K expands to Hancock County

    A successful, free pre-K program in Gulfport is about to expand to Hancock County. The Gulfport Pre-School project has joined forces with the Gulf Coast Business Council to create the South Mississippi PreK4ward Initiative. The goal is to eventually bring free, quality early childhood education to all three coastal counties.More >>
  • Biloxi Excel by 5 helps parents teach at home

    Biloxi Excel by 5 helps parents teach at home

    For parents, every moment can be a teaching moment between you and your child birth to age five.  Finding ways to incorporate rhymes, games, and play into your everyday routine cannot only be beneficial to your little one's development, but also rewarding for you.More >>
  • Pascagoula's Imagination Library sparks early creativity

    Pascagoula's Imagination Library sparks early creativity

    Jeannie Goff was one of the first to take advantage of Pascagoula's Imagination Library.  Now, she makes reading a part of her daily routine with her five year old son Nate, and his baby sister, Jillian.More >>
  • Artist brings her lessons to childcare centers in Biloxi

    Artist brings her lessons to childcare centers in Biloxi

    Biloxi's Excel by 5 Coalition has decided to go above and beyond the call of duty, to make sure children in childcare centers across the city are getting extra exposure to art.More >>
  • Alternatives to television promote learning

    Alternatives to television promote learning

    Cherish the moments, because before you know it, your little one will be all grown up. So instead of using the television to keep your child occupied during chore time, invite your toddler to help you around the house to create memorable, teaching.More >>
  • Biloxi earns Excel by 5 certification

    Biloxi earns Excel by 5 certification

    Biloxi has been certified as an Excel by 5 community, meaning parents of pre-schoolers will be able to more easily find resources to help prepare their children to enter school.More >>
  • Family outings offer learning moments for toddlers

    Family outings offer learning moments for toddlers

    The summer months are a perfect opportunity for parents to continue teaching children at home.  And the great part - it can mean a lot of fun for both you and your little one.More >>
  • Gulfport free, pilot Pre-K program prepares children for school

    Gulfport free, pilot Pre-K program prepares children for school

    Thanks to a pilot program in Gulfport, more than a dozen four-year olds are more than ready to enter Kindergarten. This week, Gulfport's free pre-k program at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center graduated its second class.  Meggan Gray stopped by their graduation rehearsal to see just how the program is helping our young children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • New D'Iberville clinic offers support for Autistic children

    New D'Iberville clinic offers support for Autistic children

    Research shows autism now affects one in every 110 children in the U.S. That's a daunting number for parents, especially those who may be wondering if their child is suffering from the disorder.  Now, there is help specifically for those parents. Meggan Gray tells us about a first of its kind clinic in south Mississippi.More >>
  • Developing critical skills for young children at home

    Developing critical skills for young children at home

    Whether you're a working parent, or a stay at home mom, it's vital that you spend time with your children every day - especially when they're young - developing their speech and motor skills. It's never too early to start. Debby Renfro, co-founder of Excel by 5, came to my house recently for a play date with my two-year-old son, Austin.  She showed us some fun, inexpensive ways parents can help children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • Waveland's Early Education Center strives for excellence

    Waveland's Early Education Center strives for excellence

    There's an early childhood education center in the Bay-Waveland school district, that's trying to raise the standard for quality early care. The Early Education Center in Waveland is currently a four-star pre-school for children ages six weeks to four years old.  Meggan Gray shows how it's helping children in the Bay-Waveland area grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • Gulfport Bear Cub Club helps prepare kids for school

    Gulfport Bear Cub Club helps prepare kids for school

    Educators agree, one way to make sure your child is ready to start school by age five, is to get them in a classroom setting with other children as early as possible.  Meggan Gray takes us inside the Bear Cub Club at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, for ways to keep your little one happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • Preparing your child for Kindergarten

    Preparing your child for Kindergarten

    Excel by 5 is a statewide initiative to help communities become more child-friendly.  Its main goal is helping children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.  The best way to do that, is to make sure every child is ready to enter kindergarten by age five.  So, parents, here's a list of what teachers say are essential skills for success in Kindergarten.More >>
  • Excel by 5 continues to grow in Mississippi

    Excel by 5 continues to grow in Mississippi

    2010 has been a very productive year for Excel by 5.  Currently, there are 24 communities in Mississippi working with Excel by 5, including seven right here in south Mississippi.  Excel by 5 helps communities become certified as child-friendly, and gives them the tools they need to help children from birth to age five grow up happy, healthy, and ready to enter Kindergarten. Steve Refroe of Chevron updated those efforts Thursday on Good Morning Mississippi.More >>
  • Childproofing during the holidays

    Childproofing during the holidays

    With the Christmas season upon us, now is a perfect time to remind parents of some important ways to keep the holidays safe so our little ones can grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • South Mississippi excels in becoming more child-friendly

    South Mississippi excels in becoming more child-friendly

    South Mississippi is setting the example when it comes to Excel by 5. Several communities have committed to becoming more child-friendly, by going through the Excel by 5 certification process. Meggan Gray updates those efforts.More >>
  • Biloxi Excel by 5 brings new family resource center to residents

    Biloxi Excel by 5 brings new family resource center to residents

    The Biloxi Excel by 5 Coalition is creating the city's only Family Resource Center. Meggan Gray takes us inside the south wing of Lopez Elementary, for a sneak peek at the facility completely devoted to helping children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • Moss Point close to reaching Excel by 5 certification

    Moss Point close to reaching Excel by 5 certification

    Excel by 5 is an innovative early childhood community certification process. It focuses on every aspect of nurturing children from birth to age five, including their education, family, health, and community involvement. Time and time again, studies have proven if children aren't learning during those critical formative years, then they won't be ready for kindergarten and will likely fall behind.More >>
  • Head Start program helps children succeed in life

    Head Start program helps children succeed in life

    New numbers reveal Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the nation.  So, what does that mean for children in those households?  How can their parents afford to give them the head start they need in life by enrolling them in pre-K programs, when Mississippi doesn't offer state funded pre-K? There is hope, and it is called Head Start.More >>
  • Pediatrician talks about preventative care, free health fair

    Pediatrician talks about preventative care, free health fair

    Regular visits to the doctor's office during a child's formative years can play a critical role in their development.  Meggan Gray talks to a Biloxi pediatrician who's taking part in an upcoming health fair, about the importance of preventative care for young children.More >>
  • Preparing children for Kindergarten

    Preparing children for Kindergarten

    With children in south Mississippi just going back to school, it's definitely a good time to remind parents of little ones what they can be doing now to make sure their toddlers are ready for Kindergarten when they turn five.  Here's a look at some of the skills teachers say are essential for successful entry into Kindergarten.More >>
  • United Way brings 'Born Learning Trail' to Pascagoula

    United Way brings 'Born Learning Trail' to Pascagoula

    Pascagoula is once again showing its commitment to children. Volunteers have transformed a section of Beach Park into an adventurous place designed to help toddlers thrive. It's called a "Born Learning Trail."  As Meggan Gray found out, it's a way mommies and daddies can have a lot of fun while helping their little ones grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn.More >>
  • Building blocks for raising healthy children

    Building blocks for raising healthy children

    If you're a parent who's always looking for ways to help your children learn, you may want to consider the Search Institute's checklist for Developmental Assets. Following these guidelines, especially in those critical first years, can make a huge impact in your toddler's life. They encourage children to grow up as healthy, caring, and responsible individuals.More >>
  • Rating system promotes quality child care

    Rating system promotes quality child care

    Mississippi Child Care Quality Step System is a program that rates participating child care centers based on certain criteria.  Centers can earn up to a five-star rating and qualify for bonus funding. It's one way the Office for Children and Youth of the Mississippi Department of Human services promotes quality child care throughout the state.More >>
  • Swim lessons help protect children from 2nd leading cause of death

    Swim lessons help protect children from 2nd leading cause of death

    Research shows drowning is the second most common cause of death in children ages one to fourteen years. The risk is greatest in children under four.  So you may want to consider signing your little ones up for some formal swim lessons this summer.  Meggan Gray has details about an upcoming infant and toddler swim class at the Biloxi Natatorium.More >>
  • Choosing the best childcare

    Choosing the best childcare

    It's pretty common these days for both parents to have to work in order to pay the bills.  And that means many parents with infants and toddlers are turning to childcare providers to look after their children during the day.  But choosing a daycare can be a bit of a challenge.  Here are some things the folks from Excel by five suggest you keep in mind when looking for quality childcare.More >>
  • MS Economic Council promotes early childhood education

    MS Economic Council promotes early childhood education

    Local businesses can play a vital role in creating successful early childhood education. This week, the Mississippi Economic Council has been traveling to ten communities across the state, talking to business leaders about why it's so important to invest in children. They're looking for the next steps we can take to ensure our children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Meggan Gray was in Gulfport for their fourth stop of the tour.More >>
  • Library offers free toys to families, child care centers

    Library offers free toys to families, child care centers

    It's every parent's wish for their child to grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn. There are people here in South Mississippi who want to help - you may just not know where to find them. Meggan Gray found a resource and referral center that's a well-kept secret in Harrison County.More >>
  • Imagination Library gives free books to babies in Pascagoula

    Imagination Library gives free books to babies in Pascagoula

    Starting this year, every baby born in Pascagoula can start their very own book collection. Pascagoula is now a part of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.  The program sends a new book to children every month, starting when they're born until they turn five.More >>
  • Doctors, nurses learn how to reduce SIDS

    Doctors, nurses learn how to reduce SIDS

    Health care professionals in south Mississippi are learning about the latest research on how to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in babies.  National speaker Debra Howe will address a doctors, nurses, and pediatric staff Friday during a training workshop at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport.More >>
  • Petal renews commitment to children

    Petal renews commitment to children

    Petal has just renewed its commitment to children. The city was the first in Mississippi to  become Excel by 5 certified.  What that basically means, is that they were the first to complete a list of requirements to enhance their city's early childhood education potential.  That was in 2007.  Since then, community leaders have made health, education, community and parental involvement priority when it comes to the lives of children from birth to age five.More >>
  • Gulfport launches free pre-K program

    Gulfport launches free pre-K program

    Gulfport just launched a pilot pre-K program at Lynn Meadows Discovery center. What makes this program unique, is that any parent in Gulfport can enroll their four-year-old in the class, at no charge.  It was made possible by a group of people with a passion to help our children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Meggan Gray was in the classroom as kids arrived for their first day of school.More >>
  • Excel by 5 prepares children for kindergarten

    Excel by 5 prepares children for kindergarten

    Excel by 5 is an initiative underway in our state right now to ensure our children have everything they need by age five to grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn. One way of doing that, is providing child care centers and parents with the tools necessary to prepare children for kindergarten.More >>
  • New year's resolutions for baby

    New year's resolutions for baby

    It's that time of year to make your new year's resolutions. Why not make some for your little ones, as well?  The most formidable years for our children are between birth and age five. Here are some things you may want to consider to help your toddler grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn in the new year.More >>
  • Holiday plants pose danger to children

    Holiday plants pose danger to children

    It's time to bring out all the holiday decorations at home.  And although it can all be very festive and pretty, holiday decorations can also pose a danger to small children.More >>
  • Moss Point working for Excel by 5 certification

    Moss Point working for Excel by 5 certification

    Moss Point already has some great programs in place to help children from birth to age five, but it's working to offer even more. The city is in the process of becoming Excel by 5 Certified, which ultimately will help children in Moss Point grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • Protecting your baby at home

    Protecting your baby at home

    According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 2.5 million children are injured or killed each year by dangers in their own home. That's why babyproofing your house is so important. More >>
  • Biloxi working to become Excel by 5 certified

    Biloxi working to become Excel by 5 certified

    Becoming an Excel by 5 community means your area has formed a coalition dedicated to making sure children have everything they need to excel by the time they're five years old. So far, Mississippi has four communities that have completed an extensive checklist of requirements to become Excel by 5 certified. Biloxi wants to be next.More >>
  • A healthy baby starts with you

    A healthy baby starts with you

    Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation. Parents can learn how to prevent infant mortality by going to a community health fair this Saturday in Biloxi. One thing they'll learn is that raising a healthy child starts before they're even born. Meggan Gray climbs aboard the March of Dimes' Mom and Baby mobile unit, which helps bring babies into the world happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
  • Helping children excel by 5

    Helping children excel by 5

    All parents want to see their child succeed. The key to doing that, is laying a strong foundation during their formative years. Thanks to some passionate child advocacy leaders, south Mississippi communities are doing their part to make sure children excel. It's called Excel by 5, and it's all about making sure children grow up happy, healthy, and ready to learn.More >>
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