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 piquing little ones' interests. But now, it offers even more: A Resource center sponsored by the county's Excel by 5 coalition.
As Cathy Wilson with the coalition explains, "These are some things you can check out, you can work with, and return; try something new without having to make an investment."
Inside each box, is an age-appropriate game or puzzle to help stimulate children's minds. Parents, can take them home, theoretically creating new learning experiences every week.
"And there are instructions and there are ideas," says Wilson. "Sometimes parents are very busy and don't have time to do the research behind, 'what would be best for my child at this age,' and these resources are here and ready to use."
In addition to the manipulatives, parents can also check out one of 12 color Nooks. Each one is already pre-programmed with interactive and educational apps, perfect for pre-schoolers.
The resources are just the latest step the Hancock County Excel by 5 coalition has taken, to help promote the overall development of children birth to age five in its quest to become certified.
Wilson says, "We're at 70% with the certification steps. But more importantly, we're really beginning to see we that we can have an impact. We're seeing that we can get involved in the community, and celebrate the things that existed, kind of pulling them together. The collaboration with the hospital for our health fair; we work with the schools, with the child care centers. Everybody's working together."
"You know its common knowledge that children who attend preschool programs do better in Kindergarten, first grade," adds Marion Bowman with Excel by 5. "And what we're trying to do is promote more preschool programs in the community."
Leaders with Hancock County's Excel by 5 coalition also want everyone to know Hancock County is "A Great Place to Grow Up." In fact, they just held a t-shirt contest, to promote that theme. Sophia Galiouras, a preK student at Holy Trinity won first place. You can buy a shirt featuring her design, and support Hancock County's Excel by 5 coalition by visiting The First Bank in Hancock County.
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