These programs provide early education services that cover multiple domains of child development. Most often these programs provide curriculum-based instruction at all points of service delivery. If the education is not curriculum-based, the services provide education that is grounded in best practices and early childhood development research.
Public prekindergarten services are offered in 72 school districts in Mississippi. Seats in these classrooms are limited but are available at no cost to parents of children who live in the school district. Here is a list of public prekindergarten locations in Mississippi. To learn more about public prekindergarten in Mississippi, click here.
Head Start and Early Head Start
Eligible children and families may receive comprehensive educational services through a Head Start and/or Early Head Start (HS/EHS) center. Head Start currently serves 21 counties in Mississippi; Early Head Start serves 63 counties across the state. Eligibility for HS/EHS is determined by household income and the child’s exposure to other social and environmental risk factors. HS/EHS emphasizes a comprehensive approach to promoting each child’s health and development. Enrollment eligibility is dependent on parent’s or guardian’s compliance with home visits and other supplemental experiences outside of the classroom. To learn more about Head Start and Early Head Start in Mississippi, click here. To learn more about how eligibility is determined and/or how to apply for Head Start or Early Head Start services, click here.
Small World is an intensive summer session offered by Delta Health Alliance that provides preparation for three-year-old children who will be entering Head Start in the fall. Participants are introduced to self-help skills and are assessed by providing a way for teachers to observe progress and accomplishments on an ongoing basis. The program has averaged 80 participants each summer.
Save the Children Partnership
The Delta Health Alliance/Save the Children Partnership provides early childhood education services to expectant mothers and children birth to three years of age in Sunflower County. It also provides education services to their parents, and ongoing staff training to the community early childhood educators involved in this program. The program is designed to assist children with early language development, social and emotional development, and equip parents with the skills and knowledge to successfully support their child’s growth.
Delta Health Alliance Imagination Library
Imagination Library is Delta Health Alliance’s longest-running program. DHA is now in the eighth year of its partnership with the Dolly Parton Foundation to provide the Imagination Library program in the Delta, which calls for mailing a free book, each month, to any participating family before their child turns five. Currently more than 1,450 children in Bolivar, Sunflower, and Washington counties are receiving books. Through the Imagination Library program, it is possible for a child to receive 60 early reader and picture books before entering kindergarten. In Sunflower County alone, more than 2,400 children have been part of the program since its inception.
Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Network
CCR&R offices function as a lending library of books, toys, game, and other educational materials that any parent may check out for their child and return later, much like a regular public library service. CCR&R staff are early childhood care and education experts and can be a source of knowledge, skill, and support for parents. Sixteen Resource and Referral offices serve all 82 counties in Mississippi.