Jackson Co. Civic Action Committee taking applications for Early - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson Co. Civic Action Committee taking applications for Early Head Start program

Application process open at Early Head Start Program in Jackson County. (Photo source: WLOX News) Application process open at Early Head Start Program in Jackson County. (Photo source: WLOX News)
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A new program in Jackson County encourages learning in children as young as birth and with limited space. Officials said the time for parents to apply is now. Teacher Pamela Mason said for two-year-olds everyday is a new discovery.

"The children come and they're very young," said Mason. "They're such a joy to work with. They're at a tender age were just like sponges they absorb everything and they're easy to teach."

The Jackson County Civic Action Committee, which has long run a Head Start program, recently launched a companion program called Early Head Start at its Pascagoula center for children ages birth to three-years-old.

"There's a different curriculum because of the fact they're not speaking yet. But they are communicating in many ways," said Vanessa Gibson, with the Jackson County Civic Action Committee. "Observation is one of the main ways of telling what a child is doing developmentally."

Officials said overwhelming evidence of the benefits of early learning is why Early Head Start also works with expecting mothers.

"We make sure that the mom is going to her prenatal visits and that she understands what to expect before the baby comes," said Gibson. "That she understands the importance of reading to that baby and starting right now reading because the baby can hear the sound of her voice. We try to encourage breast feeding and we try to educate them. We make space available for them to breast feed at the center. We can keep breast milk on site."

Teachers said at a young age children are hungry to learn.

"Getting the big hugs everyday. The smile on the parents' face when they ask them, 'What did you learn today? What did you do? Did you enjoy school?'" Mason asked.

Officials said they are currently taking applications for the Head Start program and for the Early Head Start program. There are usually 300 slots available each year for Head Start in Jackson County. The Early Head Start program will only have 16 slots at the Pascagoula Center. So parents wanting to enroll their children should not wait to apply.

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