"Success by 6," an early childhood program coordinated by the Area Wide United Way, has moved into a new phase -- educating parents on the need for early childhood development and helping child care centers and home providers to receive additional training in early care and education of children younger than 6.
The Area Way United Way has received a $108,750 grant from the Bank of America Foundation to support the local Success by 6 program.
The grant, said Bank of America president Steve Taylor, "is part of $10 million being contributed to 112 United Way agencies across the country this year to help ensure that all children enter school ready to succeed."
This is the fourth phase of bank foundation's five-year, $50 million commitment to the United Way's Success by 6 program.
"This is the fourth grant we've received from the Foundation here," said Kathy Denton, assistant director of the Area Wide United Way, who received the check from Taylor, at a special meeting Friday at Bank of America at 2001 William.
The grant was the largest of the four grants.
"The first three grants were used for parent education and to determine what was needed in this area to provide quality child care and education programs," said Denton. "Research has shown that a child's brain grows to more than 80 percent of its adult size by age 3, and that early environmental influences can have a lasting impact on development."
The latest grant has enabled the United Way to hire former elementary school principal Jim Watkins as Success By 6 coordinator.
The grant will also provide an opportunity for childcare professionals to receive training in early care and education and assist parents with opportunities for participating in their child's early education."
Watkins said arrangements had been made with Missouri Child Care Resource and Referral Network and the Teacher Education and Compensation Helps program to conduct classes aimed at increasing the educational level of early childhood educators.
TEACH will begin classes next fall at Southeast Missouri State University for child care centers and home providers to help them achieve accreditation, "thereby improving the quality of care provided for our children and their families," said Watkins.
More than 30 child care educators have indicated an interest in the program, said Beth Ann Lang, who was at Friday's meeting. Lang of St. Louis is TEACH project coordinator.