Project BEEP (Best Early Education Practices) Win Maxey-Shumate with Meridian Community College (MCC) and the Phil Hardin Foundation submitted a three year grant proposal to the Stranahan Foundation to support early childhood education in Meridian and surrounding areas. The grant was awarded and the Best Early Education Practices (BEEP) project began on June 1, 2012.
The Riley Foundation has added its support and the BEEP project is now servicing our community for a fourth year. The BEEP project is seeking additional local corporate and private funding and support for year five.
What is the BEEP project?
BEEP is an early childhood education project that supports children, parents, and early childhood educators to best prepare for kindergarten success and advancement; BEEP supports economic development and early childhood education in the following three (3) ways:
- 1) To provide the ITERSR (Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale - Revised) and the ECERS - R (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised) Training for the MCC Early Childhood Education Technology (AAS) program faculty; by implementing this training with program students, the graduates enter the workforce with experience in designing and providing age/ developmentally/individually appropriate, high quality early childhood environments. Local,state, regional, and national conference attendance is supported for the BEEP project staff to keep abreast of current policies and practices for early childhood education, educational materials, resource opportunities, and research based activities for parental engagement.
- To provide weekly parent/child sessions to best prepare families for the kindergarten experience. The BEEP staff, Mary Coleman, Michelle Hampton, and Pat Harvey started the Best Education sessions in October 2012; twenty-five (25) age/developmentally appropriate groups are offered per week. These groups meet for one hour and include a music/movement activity, a story, an activity to enhance developmental milestones, and a nutritious snack. Parents/guardians and children ages eight (8) weeks to four (4) years are encouraged to attend; to date, 197 families have participated in these parent/child sessions. The Housing Authority of the City of Meridian and Highland Baptist Child Development Center provide space for the BEEP sessions with parents and their children. The current sites include: Sowashee Courts, Magnolia Courts, Reece Courts, Frank Berry Courts, Highland Baptist Child Development Center, Eastern Gardens, and Western Gardens. During Years 1 and 2, parent/child sessions were also held at Mountain View. The BEEP project collaborates with First Steps and the Meridian Public School District for early intervention and the Imagination Library through the United Way to encourage and enhance home early literacy Children and their families are encouraged to enroll in local Head Start Centers and Pre-K programs as age appropriate for kindergarten readiness and success.
- To provide contact hours for childcare/early education educators. To date, there have been forty-four (44)two hour local training sessions for teachers/employees of children ages birth to thirty-six (36) months and three (3) years to five (5) years; workshops have also been offered at the 2014 regional early childhood conference in Williamsburg, VA and at the 2016 state early childhood conference in Natchez, MS. There have been over 250 participants at these trainings (note: each participant is counted once even though there are many regular attendees). Each training session meets the Mississippi State Department of Health Child Care Licensure requirements for contact hours; participants receive up-to-date information, educational materials, a book, and produce an activity to implement at their centers.
Together we will make the difference!