More than 1,000 Beaufort County children are expected to receive developmental screenings and needed educational intervention to prepare them for kindergarten, thanks to $77,500 in additional funding from The Learning Center Fund
BEAUFORT, S.C.: December 1, 2016 – More than 1,000 Beaufort County children are expected to receive developmental screenings and needed educational intervention to prepare them for kindergarten, thanks to $77,500 in additional funding from The Learning Center Fund of Coastal Community Foundation.
The screenings will be conducted by the Child Find Expansion Program, which offers comprehensive vision, hearing, speech and developmental screenings each month at Beaufort Elementary, Michael C. Riley Early Childhood Center and Hilton Head Island Early Childhood Center, for children ages 2½ to 6.
The Child Find team consists of a registered nurse, a speech therapist and early childhood professionals. Additional funding from The Learning Center has allowed the program to hire an additional part-time early childhood professional to work directly with families in need of follow-up services and formal education for their children. Follow-up services include additional referrals, home visits and parenting/child advocacy.
“Since 2013, we’ve been able to screen an additional 852 children and identified 226 children with suspected developmental delays,” said Ashley Hutchison, coordinator of early childhood education for the school district. “The Learning Center’s support makes it possible to get more children on track for early success in school.”
During the past four years, the Child Find Expansion Program has received a total of $247,000 from the Learning Center Fund of Coastal Community Foundation.
“It is a great privilege to assist in the journey toward providing quality education for children in this county, particularly children who learn differently,” said Learning Center Board Chairman Malcolm Goodridge.
A comprehensive media campaign has been successful in recruiting children from public, private and parochial schools, child care centers, family day care homes and Head Start. The Child Find Expansion Program also receives referrals from local pediatricians, the Medical University of South Carolina, Healthlink, the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Babynet, hospitals, Child Abuse Prevention Association, Citizens Opposed to Domestic Violence, and Hope Haven.
“Children come to us as lifelong learners and our job as a community is to nurture and continue their innate desire to learn,” said Learning Center board member Charles Kresch. “Through The Learning Center Fund, we try to allow children to succeed to their highest potential.”
Child Find Expansion was designed to provide insight into the early intervention needs in Beaufort County. The Child Find data collection system developed by the district has the ability to track children throughout their educational careers and can be utilized in determining the percentage of children who are considered “ready to learn” upon entering the first grade.
“Identifying the specific individualized needs of our youngest learners should continue to be a priority for all stakeholders in our community,” Hutchison said.
For more information about the Child Find Expansion Program, contact Beaufort County School District coordinator of early childhood education Ashley Hutchison at 843-521-2399.
This article was written by Jim Foster, Director of Communications for the the Beaufort County School District