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Randolph Co. program aims to prepare kids, parents for school

  • Randolph County Birth to Three Program staff members include, from left, Rachel Marshall, program supervisor; Melissa Duncan, Red Bud area coordinator; Vicki Thompson, Sparta area coordinator; and Lindsey Hargis, Chester area coordinator.

    Randolph County Birth to Three Program staff members include, from left, Rachel Marshall, program supervisor; Melissa Duncan, Red Bud area coordinator; Vicki Thompson, Sparta area coordinator; and Lindsey Hargis, Chester area coordinator.

 
BY JIM BEERS
Contributing Writer
updated: 9/12/2018 8:47 AM

Randolph County is offering free services to families, including expectant mothers and children to age three, with the skills and resources to help children enter grade school prepared to learn and succeed.

The Birth to Three Program has a mission to provide basic information and activities about parenting skills, parent/child interactions and child development in order to help children enter grade school prepared to learn and succeed.

"We are reaching out to interested families and individuals who want to help prepare their young children, birth to three years of age, to prepare for school. said Program Supervisor Rachel Marshall. "Our services are free and there are resources available to people in the entire Randolph County area."

The Birth to Three Program has staff located in Chester, Red Bud and Sparta.

"There are three program locations, but we want everyone to know that people from every area of Randolph County are encouraged to take advantage of the services," Marshall said. "We tried to locate service locations that were evenly spaced throughout the county, but we want all people from every part of the county to participate."

Program staff includes Lindsey Hargis, who serves the Chester area; Melisa Duncan, who serves the Red Bud area; and Vicki Thompson, who serves the Sparta area. The program headquarters is located at Chester Grade School, where Hargis and Program Supervisor Rachel Marshall are located.

Several of the program components include home visits, lap sits, play groups, and numerous other services. Home visits are made by the three Birth to Three staff members. They will visit each home of prospective participants to evaluate the prospective child, and provide a Parent/Child Fun Book to each parent. Developmental screenings will be made and one-on-one time will be spent with parents regarding specific questions related to the program.

Regularly scheduled "Lap Sits" will take place which provide children with a short story designed for young children age birth to five year of age. Lap sits provide a rocking, fun music time, a short story and a craft time, all designed to foster grade school preparedness.

Chester Lap Sits take place at the Chester Public Library at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. Red Bud Lap Sits take place the third and fourth Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Red Bud Public Library. Sparta Lap Sits take place at the Steeleville Public Library the first and third Tuesday at 10 a.m.

The use of Play Groups will also be utilized to provide the children a time to interact with other children and parents. Play is very important in fostering a child's learning process.

Chester Play Groups will take place at the Chester Grade School October through July on the first three Wednesdays of each month at 10 a.m. Red Bud Play Groups will take placed on the third and fourth Thursdays of the month at 10 a.m. at the Red Bud Elementary School. Sparta Play Groups are still being arranged.

Free child screenings are offered that include hearing, vision, and developmental screenings. Parent time is offered to help educate and prepare the parents for the upcoming rigors of having a student in school.

There will also be a free Family Fun Night activity to be held at the Chester Grade School on the third Thursday of every month from 5:30-7 p.m.

Various field trips and books will also be available to help reinforce the mission of the program.

For more information, contact Marshall at rachelmarshall@chester139.com; Hargis at lindseyhargis@chester139.com; Duncan at melissaduncan@chester139.com; or Thompson at vickithompson@chester139.com, or call (618) 826-2354, ext. 3462 or (618) 615-8772.

"We value the importance of the positive parent /child relationships," Marshall said. "Our goal is to provide families with the skills and resources to make their dreams a reality.