Birth To Kindergarten
The Critical Years: Birth To Kindergarten
It is never too early to start thinking about your child’s educational future…Being ready for school is a one of the first steps toward being ready for a fulfilling and productive adulthood. This does not mean drilling the ABC’s and 123’s beginning at birth…it means trust your instinctive desire to interact and have fun with your baby! It is true that parents are a child’s first and best teacher. The early years are critical years…
It's not as hard as you might think to support your child's early brain development. A quick focus on The Palmetto Basics can make a world of difference.
Did you know?
- Babies are born with 100 to 200 billion cells in their brain. Most cells are made before birth. The number created in the womb is nearly a lifetime’s worth. The brain grows most in the first 3 years of life. By the age of three a it is 90% the size of the adult brain. If a baby’s body grew at the same pace as their brains, they would weigh 170 pounds by one month of age!
- Children do not need special toys, videos or programs to stimulate brain development. “Floor time” with a child including talking, singing, reading, playing and exploring objects and physical space are the best ways to stimulate learning.
- Routine developmental screening can enhance a parent’s knowledge about typical growth and development and alert them to the potential need for early intervention. Free developmental screening is currently available to Spartanburg County Families.
- The relationship between a child and the parent and/or primary caregiver is essential to the developing brain; these relationships are critical as the child develops visual, language, motor and social-emotional skills essential for learning. Academic success at ages 9 and 10 can be related to the amount of words they heard from birth through age 3.
- When thinking about school readiness, educators and other experts know that to be successful in school, young children need to develop “executive function” skills. These skills are primarily behaviors that involve critical thinking and emotional maturity. Teachers rate these qualities as more important than academic skills (knowing the alphabet or being able to count). Executive function skills enables your child to:
- Focus on complicated problems.
- Control impulses.
- Set goals and work toward achieving them.
- Get along with others.
General Growth and Development and Screening Information
During the first few months of life, through mental/physical growth and learning experiences, a child learns to actively participate in the world. This development occurs in a step by step, sequential manner. These steps along the way are called developmental milestones.
There are two free resources available through SAM for families in Spartanburg County to learn about milestones and to assist them in monitoring the progress their child is making:
The Toolkit for Kindergarten Readiness is educational and monitoring resource. It is a publication which is being utilized in many local child care centers and is available to families. The Toolkit monitors the journey from birth to kindergarten so has a potential lifespan of 5 years. A sample of the Toolkit is provided here. To obtain a copy for your child please submit an order and one will be mailed to you.
Often it is obvious when children are developing as they should and also obvious when they are severely delayed for their age. It is those whose delays are not so obvious that are of concern. These are the children who often slip through the cracks and enter kindergarten ill prepared. Our goal is to identify children with delays early enough to seek intervention before kindergarten. The Age and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) is the developmental screening resource that we provide. If you are a parent/guardian with a child between 2 and 60 months of age and the child resides in Spartanburg County you may submit an ASQ-3 Screen free of charge. Screens are also available in Spanish.
If you have Developmental Concerns
Who to contact if delays are suspected:
- Children of All Ages: Contact Personal Healthcare Provider
Parents are encouraged to make an appointment with the family healthcare provider to ask him/her about their concerns and those indicated through screening. Consider taking with you the Toolkit for Kindergarten Readiness, including any screenings that have been completed. The provider may order additional evaluations. After your visit, if you and/or any other significant adults in your child’s life feel that undiagnosed problems still remain, there are additional options available to you.
- Children Birth to 36 Months of Age: Refer to South Carolina Babynet
In accordance with federal law, further screenings are available through Babynet, free of charge, regardless of family income. The South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness organization serves as the lead agency for Babynet.
Early intervention services help infants and toddlers who have delays in growing, developing, and/or learning. Early intervention services may include therapies, assistive aids and devices, speech/hearing/vision services, service coordination, and family training.
Some children, due to qualifying diagnosis, will be automatically eligible for services. Most children referred to Babynet will be further evaluated to determine eligibility.
Types of services offered to eligible children:
- Evaluations (for example: vision and hearing screens)
- Hearing services (for example: fitting for a hearing device)
- Vision services (for example: prescribing glasses)
- Speech services (for example: finding out why a child does not talk)
- Nursing services (for example: tube feeding or bandage changing)
- Health services (for example: giving prescribed shots at home)
- Nutrition services (for example: special diets)
- Family training (for example: teaching how to interact with a child)
- Physical therapy (for example: improving a child's ability to move)
- Occupational therapy (for example: teaching a child to use a spoon)
- Support groups (for example: learning parenting skills)
- Social work services (for example: family counseling)
- Transportation (for example: arranging taxi for doctor's appointment)
- Special instruction (for example: teaching sign language to a parent)
- Psychological services (for example: understanding child behavior)
- Service coordination or case management (for example: developing an Individual Family Service Plan or IFSP to coordinate services for the family)
Anyone can make a BabyNet referral for a child birth to 34.5 months old. To make a local referral or for more information, please call 864-591-8641. The state Babynet office number is 1-877-621-0865. Emails may be send to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the SC BabyNet website.
- Children 36 Months and Over: Contact Your Local Public School District or Head Start Office
In accordance with federal law, further screenings and assessments are available, free of charge, through your public school district. If the child meets eligibility requirements, additional services will be offered by the school district to support the child’s journey to kindergarten readiness.
Call your local school district and speak to the Special Services Coordinator to schedule additional assessments:
Spartanburg School District One – (864) 472-4117
Inman/Landrum/Campobello and Northwest County
Spartanburg School District Two – (864) 578-0128
Boiling Springs/Chesnee and Northeast County
Spartanburg School District Three – (864) 279-6000
Cowpens/Pacolet and East Central County
Spartanburg School District Four – (864) 476-3186
Woodruff and Southwest County
Spartanburg School District Five – (864) 949-2350
Lyman/Duncan/Wellford and Central West County
Spartanburg School District Six – (864) 576-4212
Westside Spartanburg City and Central County
Spartanburg School District Seven – (864) 594-4400
Central and Eastside Spartanburg City
You may also call:
Early Head Start – Spartanburg County First Steps – (864) 327-4990
Head Start/Early Head Start - Piedmont Community Actions – (864) 585-3496
How to obtain a developmental screen in Spartanburg County
- Child Care Centers. Many childcare centers in Spartanburg County have the resources and the training to administer an ASQ-3 screen to children in their care. For questions about centers participating please contact Quality Counts.
- Child Find is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that requires states to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, between the ages of birth to 21, who are in need of early intervention or special education services. Please contact your local school districts (listed above) about their Child Find activities.
- Community Screenings are occasionally offered by public and non-profit entities in Spartanburg County. Most often screenings will be offered by educational, faith based and/or health fairs focused on children.
- Spartanburg Academic Movement offers the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (AQ-3). It is offered free of charge to all Spartanburg County residents, with thanks in part to our partners at the Mary Black Foundation.
High Quality Early Care and Education in Spartanburg County
Did you know?
- Children require stimulating, supportive and nurturing care when their parents are not available.
- Children who enjoy high-quality early learning experiences are more likely to stay in school, attend college, earn more money, and land a high-skill job. The formula for success!
- Spartanburg County was the first county in South Carolina to develop and implement a system of continuous quality improvement (CQI) designed to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs. It is called Quality Counts. High quality child care is available in Spartanburg County and is Quality Counts can help you locate it.
- For preschoolers, every hour of daily television viewing increases their chances of developing attention problems later in life by about 10 percent. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Every dollar invested in early learning saves $4 to $9 in remedial education, welfare and prison costs in the future.
How to find high quality early care and education opportunities for children:
Spartanburg County has a continuous quality improvement (CQI) system Quality Counts which can assist parents in locating child care that fits their needs.
- First Steps is Spartanburg County’s School Readiness Organization.
- Born Learning Upstate SC is a national public engagement campaign originated by United Way Worldwide, Civitas, the Ad Council and the Families and Work Institute that helps parents, grandparents, and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities.
- South Carolina Child Care is a website hosted by SC Department of Social Services that provides information specific to selecting and utilizing child care in South Carolina.
- Zero to Three is a national nonprofit that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development.
- American Academy of Pediatrics provides parents with detailed information about typical growth and development.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the nation’s leading voice for high quality early childhood education for children from birth to age 8.
- Harvard Center for Developing Child is devoted to supporting science based knowledge of healthy child development as the foundation of economic prosperity, strong communities, and a just society. They are the leading agency for the study of brain development.
- Better Brains for Babies provides parents with activities and resources for young children.