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Early education for all

Picayune’s school district is considering applying for funding to take over the Head Start Program currently under Mississippi Action for Progress.

It was announced recently that the program is expected to go up for bid, allowing other organizations to take it over.

Picayune Early Head Start director Dr. Pam Thomas is interested in acquiring the Head Start program, and expanding it so that all children regardless of family income can participate.

Those programs primarily enroll children from low income households. This leaves homes just out of the poverty level reliant on daycares or stay at home moms to provide childcare.

Daycares can be an expense many may not be able to afford, even if they earn more than the poverty level. According to http://www.babycenter.com/ preschool childcare costs can range from $350 to $1,100 a month, depending on where you live and what kind of childcare you employ. Mississippi was ranked as one of the states with the lowest childcare costs, but those are still expenses many families may find hard to budget.

Additionally, not all day cares provide children with a learning experience. But Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide childcare, educational and healthcare services. Studies have shown that children who participate in those programs are more likely to graduate from high school.

Expanding these services to include all children will benefit the Picayune area by giving every child a boost they can use to be successful in school, and later in life.

It is our hope that as the educational opportunities within Pearl River County grow that these young people will become successful and possibly seek a higher education, thereby increasing the economic viability of our region.

Mississippi is full of talented individuals who need an opportunity to show the rest of the nation what we can offer.