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THE FUTURE OF DURHAM’S EARLY EDUCATION AND UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS I N PA RT N E R S H I P W I T H

CITY OF DURHAM | COUNTY OF DURHAM | DUKE UNIVERSITY | DUKE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM | DURHAM CAN | DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS DURHAM CONGREGATIONS IN ACTION | GREATER DURHAM CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | INTERDENOMINATIONAL MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE LINCOLN COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER | PROJECT ACCESS OF DURHAM COUNTY | PARTNERSHIP FOR A HEALTHY DURHAM TRIANGLE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION | THE INSTITUTE

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he landscape of early education has been evolving nationwide, and Durham is no exception. Our early education programs are growing and focusing on improving the quality of the education available and making these programs accessible to every child. Currently, there are more than 22,000 children from infants to age 5 living in Durham, with 28.1% living below the Federal Poverty Level (the poverty level for a household of four is an annual income of $25,750). Only 29% of Durham’s children ages 0-5 are enrolled in a licensed day care center. The average market rate for child care in a four-star center is more than $990 a month, creating notable learning gaps for impoverished children within the classroom. Those gaps tend to become larger as children get older. The Board of Commissioners’ 2017 State of Durham County’s Young Children report says, “Among Durham children ages 0 to 8, it is estimated in 2015 that: 5% were the subject of a maltreatment report, 16% lived in a home where housing costs exceeded 50% of income, 15% lived in crowded housing and 7% lived in a household where there was no working parent.” This fosters environments that further gaps in the education system. However, there are initiatives in Durham that are aimed at both closing these gaps and ensuring that all children have equal opportunities for learning and healthy beginnings. CURRENT PROGRAMS Durham’s Partnership for Children (DPC) offers many programs, including Smart Start, Durham Early

F I N D A C O M P L E T E L I S T O F H E A LT H Y D U R H A M P A R T N E R S AT

Head Start, NC Pre-Kindergarten and the Transitionto-Kindergarten Initiative, which are aimed at giving all children high-quality early childhood education. Durham Public Schools offers instructional pre-kindergarten programs focused on child development and academic readiness. Durham Early Head Start is a federally funded, free program that’s aimed to help low-income pregnant women and families with children ages 0-3. Families can participate in either intensive home visits or full-day, center-based child care. Durham Early Head Start currently serves 156 children. NC PreKindergarten is a statewide program that prepares 4-yearolds for kindergarten with community-based child care that serve children 6-and-a-half hours a day, 180 days a year. DPC’s programs are not only academic based; Durham Early Head Start also offers comprehensive services such as home visits, early intervention and mental health screening and parent education. The Transition-to-Kindergarten Initiative focuses on preparing families and children for kindergarten, with a strong focus on parent engagement. “Durham’s Partnership for Children’s portfolio of early literacy and education programs help support foundational child development, social-emotional skills, literacy skills [and] vocabulary development while also expanding learning opportunities and increasing school readiness outcomes for young children,” says Danielle Johnson, DPC’s executive director. DPC also supports literacy program Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which is available to any North Carolina family with young children. Launched in March

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Durham Magazine Oct/Nov 2019  

Durham Magazine Oct/Nov 2019