As local small business owners, Beth and Neil McKeithen find Meridian Community College’s Early Childhood Academy as a valuable resource.
The academy, located in College Park Shopping Center, serves as a resource for educators, students, daycares and parents offering books, games, flashcards, building blocks, puppets and other educational material to help the early learner get a head start. Also, it also offers professional development, technical assistance, resources for providers and families as well as referrals and support for providers and families. The use of materials is free of charged and can be checked out for two weeks.
As owners of Daddy’s Hands Daycare, the McKeithens said they appreciate being able to take advantage of the facility. “We’re able to have different things in the classroom and try them out without having to buy them. It’s a handy resource center for that purpose,” said Beth, who is also a student in MCC’s Early Childhood Education Technology Program.
And as a business owner, Neil said, “it helps tremendously to have an asset like this to tap into.”
Gabrielle Kelly of New Destiny childcare agrees. “It helps a lot to get a book from here to help with the lessons. I’m always telling my co-workers to come here and get some things.” She explained she used the puppets from the center when sharing with her younger charges about what happens at a fire station while older youths went to a firehouse field visit. Kelly is a May 2018 MCC alumna, graduating from the Early Childhood Education Technology Program.
Another alumna, Idrick Leggette, director of Meridian KinderCare, described the academy as “a great deal.” She explained when her center is in need of extra material, she looks to the academy.
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,” said Win-Maxey-Shumate, MCC program coordinator and instructor for MCC’s Early Childhood Education Technology Program and coordinator for Early Childhood Academy.