The importance of early childhood education cannot be overstated. Early childhood education sets the foundation for a child’s future development, providing a strong base for lifelong learning, and also helps the child with cognitive and social development that is crucial to a strong future. As a community, we have to understand the importance of this crucial education to our children in our community. Early education is often overlooked and the early learning educators are frequently treated like babysitters at a daycare facility. But we need to treat them and their profession with the respect and admiration that they deserve in order to boost employee retention and overall satisfaction with the important career that they have chosen. These early childhood educators are creating and molding the future of our community.
Here at Smart Start of Forsyth County (SSFC), we are a blend of a quasi government and non-profit organization that is devoted to early childhood education programs in Forsyth County. We provide free resources to local early childhood educators and education centers.
Smart Start was created in 1993 by Governor Jim Hunt as an innovative way to tackle an important problem: children were coming to school unprepared to learn. Today, Smart Start of Forsyth County provides funding for innovation, and also serves as an incubator of innovative ideas and practices that impact children, birth to five and their families.
Experiences a child has during the first 2,000 days—from birth to kindergarten—have been shown to have an impact throughout life. Therefore, SSFC invests time and money in local, evidence-based initiatives to improve early care and education, family support, health, and literacy as a holistic approach for children birth-to-five.
A free program that is available to all early educators in Forsyth is our Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) program. Our TLS Team provides training, technical assistance, coaching and support to childcare providers. The TLS Team consists of highly qualified Technical Assistance Specialists who have a strong background in Early Childhood Education and Administration. The team provides services that help childcare providers throughout Forsyth County gain and/or maintain quality childcare; they also provide assessments of classroom-level processes, trauma-informed practices, evidence-based instructional supports, and developmentally appropriate practices associated with children’s positive developmental outcomes. In addition, TLS provides leadership development for early childhood administrators to improve knowledge and implementation of programmatic and business practices. We have regular training available on our website for educators to attend.
In addition to providing funding for many childcare centers across the county, we also provide free community resources to families. Parents and caregivers can visit our website to apply for scholarships, emergency scholarships, and subsidies at www.SmartStart-FC.org. Families with children that are five and under can also register for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library which is a free literacy program that sends Spanish or English books to registered children every month based on their age. Our newest program is ROOTS and it is funded by the Kate B Reynolds charitable Trust. The ROOTS program is designed to help our community break the cycle of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and help local children develop strong roots with their families as well as within our community.
At SSFC, we work with parents and educators to provide resources to help their children thrive. Smart Start takes the time needed to understand each person’s situation and then we are able to guide them through programs that cater to their specific needs such as the NC Pre-K program, Dual Subsidies, Emergency Childcare Scholarship’s, Teaching & Learning Services, R.O.O.T.S, and our free Diaper Bank.
For more information on how you and your family can benefit from some of the services here at Smart Start, visit our website at www.SmartStart-FC.org or visit our office at 7820 North Point Boulevard, Suite 200, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27106