When Melissa Parsons first brought her son Stephen to a Smart Start in the Schools activity at her local elementary school, he held onto her leg and was hesitant to participate. But after attending several sessions, Stephen’s reaction couldn’t be more different.
“At first I couldn’t get him to go into school; now I can’t get him to go out of school!” said Melissa.
At Smart Start in the Schools, young children under the age of five participate in educational activities and learn how to socialize with other children. Their parents receive information on community resources and tips on how structured play can help prepare their children for school. Melissa reports that Stephen now has a better grasp on colors, numbers, reading, and interacting with other children. Melissa also learned something for herself. “I didn’t understand the importance of things like scribbling, and what it will become in learning to write and read.” Stephen and Melissa also spend more time reading together at home.
Children’s early years provide great opportunities to shape their future development. At Smart Start Central Oklahoma, we recognize that parents are their children’s first and most important teachers. Through Smart Start in the Schools and our parenting class, Early Birds, we give parents the tools they need to help their children start school ready to succeed. Both programs are free and open to any parents of children 0-5 in Oklahoma County. More than 95% of parent participants would recommend the programs to a friend, and Melissa Parsons agrees:
“I’d tell other parents to get your child in as soon as possible.”
Smart Start Central Oklahoma works to build an early childhood system that ensures all children in Oklahoma County are healthy, safe, eager to learn, and ready to succeed by the time they enter school. One way we do this is by connecting families to free and convenient programs that support positive parenting techniques and provide information about child development and community resources. Some services are provided right in the families’ homes! Visit our websites smartstartcentraloklahoma.org and www.earlybirdsok.org to learn more about these programs that are available throughout our community.