“With one in three of Mississippi’s children living in poverty, a dedication to early childhood education and community engagement enables children and families to thrive.”

I recently watched a short documentary about one mother’s personal experience of raising three of her children in the small town of Alligator, Mississippi, an impoverished, at risk area. She talks about how the Excel by 5 program and SPARK initiative have worked in her community to get parents involved in their child’s early education. Excel by 5 and SPARK helped her children with early literacy and early education so that they were prepared for grade school education. Now that she has experienced first hand the benefits of these programs, she now is working to connect other children to them so that they too can get the early start in their education.

Excel by 5 is a partner program of the Center of Education and Innovation, a grantee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. It is a “community-based certification designed to improve a child’s overall well-being by age five.” Excel by 5 places great importance in the areas of child care, child health, community participation, and parent training. Their goal is to assure that all children are prepared to start kindergarten by age five.

SPARK, standing for Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids, is an early education initiative developed by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. SPARK focuses on children and communities, connecting schools, educators, parents, and early education providers in an effort to assure kids are prepared for the start of their education, setting them up for future success in learning.

I think it’s great that Excel by 5 and SPARK are coming into impoverished areas lacking in early education programs and helping to get more parents and community members invested in early childhood education.

To learn more about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, click here!

Cover Image: Brendan Murphy via Flickr

%d bloggers like this: