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Franklin County Head Start changes name to First Start Partnerships for Children & Families
The Record Herald - 2/10/2019
Feb. 09--WAYNESBORO -- For more than 50 years, families and educators have recognized Head Start as a program that helps preschool children of low-income families prepare for kindergarten.
Over the years, Franklin County Head Start has grown to include Pre-K Counts center programs, as well as early head start home visitation programs and early head start classrooms.
Now, Franklin County Head Start Inc. is changing its name to better reflect its mission.
First Start Partnerships for Children & Families is now the name of the local organization.
"We will partner with families, schools and the community to ensure that each child arrives ready for kindergarten," explained Annette Searfoss, president and CEO, during a press conference Friday at Faith United Methodist Church in Waynesboro. "Our new name honors our roots, while acknowledging we have branched out over the years."
Recent statistics show there are 5,480 children under age 3 in Franklin County, yet high-quality child care is often unavailable or unaffordable for parents who need it, and many families are not connected to networks or early childhood supporters that can offer guidance and confidence to navigate the earliest months and years of their children's lives.
Meanwhile, research indicate the first 1,000 days of a child's life are when 75 percent of brain development takes place.
First Start plans to partner with several local schools and organizations to reach parents-to-be and parents of the youngest children to ensure they are connected to the services available to them.
"Having a child doesn't mean you know how to raise a child," said Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas. "I remember my wife and I spending time in classes learning how to breathe during childbirth, but there was nothing to teach us how you deal with things like your child screaming in the middle of the night and the frustration you feel. It's no fault of the parent if they don't get it."
Community leaders and educators agree that needs to change. Parents can be better educated on how to raise successful children.
"Healthy beginnings, supportive parenting and quality childcare leads to kindergarten readiness," Thomas said.
Like Head Start, the mission of First Start will be to prepare children for kindergarten by providing high-quality education and strong foundations for social, emotional and physical development, while helping to create stronger, healthier families by ensuring access to community resources, increasing positive parenting practices and providing opportunities for personal growth. All leading to stronger families and healthier communities.
For more information on First Start Partnerships for Children & Families or to find a preschool learning opportunity, visit firststartpartnerships.org or call 717-263-8019.
Contact Andrea Rose at email@example.com or 717-762-2151.
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