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Early Bird

School's not out: Moving east

'That caring, nurturing feeling'

Early Bird readers, hello again. Newcomers, welcome! If you were forwarded this email, you can sign up here to receive it every two weeks, and join our conversation on issues facing North Carolina’s young children and those who support them. If you’re already a subscriber, please help us reach more people by sharing this with your friends and co-workers interested in early childhood education.

Liz Bell/EducationNC

Thank you for continuing to open your classrooms and communities to me. Since last time, I wrote a story about the child care providers keeping Alexander County going, and their fears as pandemic relief funds run out at the end of the year.

And for the fourth installment of “School’s not out,” I took you to Pitt County, where regional nonprofit Care-O-World is opening a center that will serve 222 children. I attended its open house, where business owners, politicians, and community leaders were invited to learn about why they have a stake in strengthening access to child care.

“It takes a village, and to be part of that village, it takes everyone being informed. It takes everyone to advocate for these things,” said Sara Cariaso, the organization’s director of operations.

It’s another example of local leaders spreading awareness on behalf of child care providers and the children and families that rely upon them, and building community. Don’t miss the first two pieces, from Wilkes and Ashe counties, here.

I also stopped in Warren County and spent a lovely few hours at Stay and Play Child Care, a family child care home in Norlina. Owner and director Angela Somerville introduced me to her sweet students and talked to me about what she wishes others knew about the important role that home-based providers play, especially in rural communities across the state.

Angela Somerville helps a student with a worksheet. Liz Bell/EducationNC

“It’s that caring, nurturing feeling,” Somerville said. She is a mentor for her students, as well as their parents, many of whom are young themselves.

Stay tuned for coverage of the unique challenges and opportunities that home-based child care programs face, and what supports they need to continue providing care.

A special shout-out to Magda Baligh and Vicki Collier with the Halifax-Warren Smart Start partnership for spending the day with us and explaining the nuances of the local child care landscape, where there are more home-based programs than centers.

More from EdNC on early childhood

Open house at a new Pitt County center lets a whole community see what child care means

Most of the people touring Care-O-World Learning Center in Ayden, the newest branch of the regional nonprofit chain in eastern...

Alexander County child care access has dwindled, with many providers uncertain what's next

When Amy Blankenship saw black smoke outside her office window at Small Hands Learning Center in Stony Point on a...

Chirp! Chirp! Opportunities to share your voice

Owners and directors, how will your program be affected by the end of stabilization funds?

The big picture for little kids

Taking flight! Opportunities to spread your wings

  • Early childhood leadership academy - From NC Early Education Coalition

    This three-part training series is for all early care and education professionals interested in learning more about the history of child care, early childhood systems in North Carolina, and how to be an advocate for change.

  • Science of reading educator fellowship - From The NC Early Childhood Foundation

    From the organization: “The Fellowship is an opportunity to join a small cadre of eight highly experienced early elementary school teachers who love teaching reading and care deeply about the future of literacy instruction.”

  • Free drop-in child care for community college students - From Cape Fear Community College

    This fall, Cape Fear will be the first community college to offer free drop-in child care for enrolled students. I’ll be visiting this fall to dive deep into how the college made it happen.

  • An early childhood apprenticeship initiative - From Building Bright Futures

    Learn about how to get connected with this pilot initiative that’s offering support and resources to pre-apprentices and apprentices in the early childhood field.

Liz Bell

Liz Bell is the early childhood reporter for EducationNC.