Corinth-Alcorn County expands Excel by 5 projects

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – Corinth’s Dec. 1 Christmas parade will give the community its first look at a mobile learning center for parents – primarily mothers – of children from birth to age 5.
The mobile learning center that will go into communities where these young children live is one of the outreach tools Excel by 5 supporters believe will be very effective in reaching these young families.
Another component is to make the program more visible in every aspect of community life, said Bobby Capps, a member of the Commission on the Future of Alcorn County steering committee that is working to obtain Excel by 5 certification.
“Mainly what we’re trying to do is add a zero to five component to everything we do in the community – Main Street events, schools, the county fair,” Capps said. “Our health fair at the county fair was an excellent outreach, with lots of participation and excitement. Mothers were really engaged.”
Excel by 5 will extend its community visibility by being present at the Nov. 17 RED Green Market at the Corinth Depot, at the Dec. 8 Winter Wonderland at the Crossroads Arena and other community activities.
“Our strategy is to go to events everybody is going to anyway and have an early childhood component there,” Capps said.
Excel by 5 is a program to support child development from birth to age 5, developed through a collaboration of the Mississippi State University Early Childhood Institute and Chevron. The Corinth/Alcorn County collaboration is pursuing certification as an Excel by 5 community, a designation that recognizes the community as child friendly.
The four key things to concentrate on during those early preschool years, based on brain development research, are touch, talk, play and reading.
“At the Red and Green Market we’ll have a Santa or somebody reading, touching, playing, our whole component piece telling the story, getting the community involved,” Capps said. “At the arena vent we’ll have elves reading to preschoolers and giving away little books. All of this will be modeling reading to preschoolers for moms.
“Ours is a simple message that a lot happens before they ever get to a school and we have to take responsibility for that. It’s not as hard as you think and it doesn’t cost anything.”
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com