Early Childhood Academy opens its new doors

Meridian Community College’s Early Childhood Academy is getting a new location in College Park Shopping Center.

An open house on Friday showcased the newly renovated and expanded space to campus and community for parents and childcare center operators. The academy was previously located in Reed Hall.

“The new facility affords the opportunity for increased services for our community,” said Win Maxey-Shumate, program coordinator and instructor for MCC’s Early Childhood Education Technology Program and coordinator for Early Childhood Academy.

Professional development, technical assistance, resources and referrals for early childhood providers and parents are some of the components that make up the Early Childhood Academy.

Resources for educators, students, daycare centers and parents include books, puppets, games, educational manipulatives, building blocks, and active learning kits to help the early learner get a head start on the cognitive skills needed for kindergarten; these items can be checked out for up to two weeks. The use of the material is free of charge. And now with the expanded space, there are more resources available.

The academy is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and by appointment by calling 601.553.3413. Kamilah Dunn, coach and professional development specialist, and Cisley Barksdale, resource and referral center associate, staff the academy.

“All under the umbrella at Meridian Community College, there is the Early Childhood Education Technology Program with its Associate of Applied Science degree, the Best Early Education Practices (BEEP) Project and the Early Childhood Academy; all three components of early childhood education here at MCC are a collaborative effort to best support and prepare children for kindergarten,” Maxey-Shumate said.

Meridian Community College’s is one of 12 of the state’s community colleges where Early Childhood Academies are hosted. “The College and faculty and staff are particularly excited about this new facility. It will afford easier access to check out resources and enhance child care learning opportunities in the community,” said Dr. Richie McAlister, MCC associate vice president for career and technical and workforce education.