Early Childhood Council Receives Large Grant to Help School Readiness

Bonnie Rutherford, Maria Rutherford, and Rhonda Wheeler

Bonnie Rutherford, Maria Rutherford, and Rhonda Wheeler

Getting our young children ready for kindergarten is a bigger deal than many expect, and the Anderson County Community Early Childhood Council has recently received a large grant to help with that process.  According to the council’s chair person, Maria Rutherford, children who aren’t ready for kindergarten tend to statistically not have good reading skills by 3rd grade.  And 3rd grade reading skills play a large factor into juvenile delinquency and even prison rates.

Maria, who was the original director for Abundant Life until 2007 when she became a professor of early childhood at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, was contacted by the governor’s office last summer.  The council, which originally formed in 2000, had dissipated by then and former Governor Beshear wanted to revive the council in Anderson County.

After reforming the council, Maria decided to apply for a grant through the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood KIDS Now Initiative to help fund programs to help with school readiness.  The council received $11,000 through the grant and have partnered with the Bluegrass Head Start Program, Anderson Public Library, BCTC, Sparrow ECC, STARS Quality Coordinator, United Way, and local daycare providers like Creative Minds.

With the grant funds, the council’s goal is to help daycare providers prepare children for school, help educate parents on school readiness, and work with the school system to further promote the need of readiness.  “We see it as a way to educate parents and educate day care providers,” Rhonda Wheeler, member of the council and campus director at the Anderson County BCTC Campus, said.

In addition to already creating kindergarten readiness backpacks, the council will be working on a number of events this year.  On April 28, all Anderson County daycare providers and Sparrow ECC will be hosting an Eric Carle style art show, where children will be coloring pictures of horses.  The show will let the council  educate parents just how vital preparation and kindergarten enrollment can be.  “We really want to reach out to the families that don’t have their kids in child care,” Maria said.

BCTC will also be hosting another fun event on the evening of June 3rd.  Called “A Bugs Life Comes Alive Night,” the college will not only be showing the movie, “A Bugs Life,” but also will have fun interactive activities done by math and science faculty.  The night will help promote literacy and science to all the children present.

For more information about the Anderson County Community Early Childhood Council, check out their Facebook page.

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Posted in Family & Community, School & Education.

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