The level playing field must start in early childhood


Dr. Rainey Knight of The Byerly Foundation is introducing Melanie Barton of the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee for a discussion of what brain research is telling the world about the needs of investing in early childhood development if we are going to give all children a solid opportunity of graduating from school.

Brain Work

“Your work with children from birth to eight is not social work or even teaching it is brain work,” Ms Barton told the group of more than 50 early childhood service providers at a Hartsville Early Childhood Symposium on Friday, October 21.  They idea for the early childhood symposium developed in the initial meetings of the All-America City planning group. A planning committee led by Darnell McPherson of Darlington County First Steps brought that initial idea to reality.  The First Presbyterian Church of Hartsville, which has long had early childhood education as one of its missions, was the site of the Friday conference.

Service Providers

During the meeting the participants heard from 15 service providers as well as an introduction to the issues from Tamika Williams of The Duke Endowment, which is working with a few organizations in the area on these issues, and Melanie Barton of the Education Oversight Committee,  who provide the wrap-up keynote for the meeting.

The service providers who gave very quick five-minute overviews of the work they are doing in the area included: McLeod Nurse Family Partnership, Reach out and Read, Pee Dee Healthy Start, Community Action Agency, Darlington County School District, Southside Early Childhood, BabyNet, and the Coker College Early Childhood program.  Also, Jumpstart, The Children’s Trust from Columbia, Rubicon, Darlington County Family Literacy, Hartsville Library, First Steps, and DHEC’s WIC program.

The Byerly Foundation sponsored the Symposium.

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