MDHS working to boost brain power through early childhood care programs

The state agency is working with colleges and universities on new curriculums for childcare providers
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Making sure young minds have what they need to thrive is the focus of several Early Childhood Care and Development programs through the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Colleges and universities in the state are helping with curriculums to make sure young children in this state get the quality care and learning they need.

Childcare providers will also receive training on the best methods to help children learn at...
Childcare providers will also receive training on the best methods to help children learn at young ages.(WLBT)

The Mississippi Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood Care and Development is teaming up with Mississippi State University, Jackson State, USM, Alcorn State and several community colleges to develop a curriculum for young minds.

Dr. Chad Algood said, “Children are concrete learners. And they learn best by things that they see, things they can smell, things they hear, things they touch, things they taste.”

Part of the curriculum is called My Mississippi Adventure. It includes Mississippi Culture and Mississippi themes.

“Writers of the curriculum, not only do they come from diverse places but they’re also taking into consideration what are all the diverse cultures across our state,” Algood said.

In rural areas where licensed childcare facilities are not always available, parents often choose providers who work in their homes. The Nurturing Homes Initiative will help operators of home-based centers that provide care for at least 5,000 children throughout the state.

The curriculum will include Mississippi culture, Mississippi geography and Mississippi themes.
The curriculum will include Mississippi culture, Mississippi geography and Mississippi themes.(WLBT)

Algood said, “Parents may not be working in that area, but they’re living in that area. And having childcare close to either where they work or where they live. Those are two things we need to consider when we’re looking at where there is access to childcare across the state.”

MDHS is also looking at the hidden impact of the pandemic on early childhood education. Part of the curriculum will include teachers, making sure they have the training and resources they need.

“You’re giving them the skills and the knowledge base to really succeed at teaching these children and preparing them, like I said, preparing them for success,” Algood said.

Resource and Referral Centers around the state will be working with families and children to boost their emotional and mental well-being.

“Parents can visit these sites, childcare providers can visit these sites. There is a wealth of early childhood learning materials they can check out. It’s all free of charge. Kind of like a library. You go, you check out the material, you can keep it for a couple of weeks, bring it back and you get something else,” said Algood.

Mississippi College and Tougaloo College will also work on curriculum development. Parents can find more information on MDHS and programs for Early Childhood Education, including how to qualify for childcare vouchers, by clicking here.

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