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$66,049 Granted Early Childhood programs on the Lower Shore

Area programs hope to see an increase in kindergarten readiness for Lower Shore Children through collaboration and support from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore’s Early Childhood Initiative grant program. The Foundation recently awarded $66,049 to local schools and day care centers serving children ages birth through five.

According to the 2017-2018 Maryland Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, only 45% of Maryland Kindergartners demonstrated readiness. Encompassing the areas of social foundations, language and literacy, math, and physical wellbeing and motor development, the testing identifies areas of focus to help children succeed. With less than half of students testing as prepared, The Community Foundation saw a need for grant funding which focused on early childhood education for the Lower Eastern Shore.

“When we ensure that all children are ready for kindergarten, we help to prepare them for a lifetime of learning,” states Erica Joseph, Community Foundation President. “The Community Foundation hopes the Lower Shore will start to see an increase in the Kindergarten Readiness numbers through increased grant funding and collaboration with area professionals and community leaders.”

Grant applicants to the program included a variety of public and non-public schools, universities, day care centers, and community churches in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. Grants were awarded to support the following programs:

Buckingham Elementary School will host “Learning Parties” where parents and children will engage in interactive experiences to learn school readiness skills. Each child takes home new books.

Little Lambs Learning Center will purchase InvestiGators Club curriculum kits for their preschool classes. The kits provide culturally rich, hands-on, inquiry-based learning fully aligned with the Maryland Framework for preschool students.

Pocomoke Elementary School will launch Family Math Camp for Young Learners—a series of evening events for families to engage in fun, interactive math-focused activities. Each family will receive a math themed story book to take home. Transportation and meals will be provided.

Salisbury University’s Office of Graduate Studies & Research will work with families on addressing challenging behaviors of children birth to five and will promote healthy social-emotional development by providing early childhood mental health consultations to families not eligible for consultation services through existing programs.

The Somerset County Judy Center Partnership will host a “Lunch and Learn” series for parents of 3 and 4 year olds to learn about school readiness. Lunch and an assortment of readiness materials and activities will be provided to parents.

The Somerset County Library will stock their new Reader Van with Early Learning Resource kits—filled with books, educational activities, and will deliver kits during on-site story time to child care providers in Somerset County.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore will institute a new Math Play project for 2 to 5-year-olds with learning experiences designed for enjoyment, enrichment, and engagement to offset more rigid traditional math curriculums.

The Wicomico Early Childhood Council will kick-off a county-wide, yearlong school readiness campaign and school readiness fair to promote the importance of quality early learning, family engagement, and school readiness.

The Wicomico County Public Library will distribute “Read to Baby” totes to low-income families with children ages birth to five. Totes includes a Baby’s First Library card, a board book, local programming schedule, a list of age appropriate books for parents to read to their children, and more.

The Wicomico Day School will purchase a Kids edition Kindle Fire station and new learning materials designed to promote handwriting, language development, number sense, and problem solving for its K-4 classrooms.

The Richard A. Henson Family YMCA will expand its Early Learning Program, which delivers a research-based curriculum that meets community needs, reflects the culture of its participants, increases caregiver’s knowledge, and bridges the learning gap for children in informal day care settings.

K-4 students at The Wicomico Day will be learning with a new Kids edition Kindle Fire station and new learning materials designed to promote handwriting, language development, number sense, and problem-solving skills.

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