The Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) Task Force was formed in 2015 with a mission to build the capabilities of caregivers and to strengthen the communities that together form the environment of relationships essential to children’s lifelong learning, health and behavior.
Over the last three years, the task force, along with other interested organizations and volunteers, has acted on many of the insights and recommendations, strengthening and enlarging the support for Transylvania County’s child population in profound ways. In October of 2018, the ECI developed a brand identity – Get Set Transylvania– that will make it easy for parents and caregivers to access the support they need. In addition to continuing to be an advocate for Transylvania County’s 0-5 population, Get Set Transylvania will become a one-stop clearinghouse for the myriad services, programs and activities that will help ensure a bright future for Transylvania County’s youngest citizens.
The work of the ECI was instrumental in attracting the attention of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street. In 2018, Transylvania County was chosen to be the first rural county in the United States to be chosen for Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC).SSIC is a major initiative to support parents, caregivers, and community providers in their efforts to give all children, especially the most vulnerable, a strong, healthy start. Thanks to this unique and valuable collaboration, Transylvania County will have access to Sesame Street resources that include videos, storybooks and training that help children navigate through challenges large and small. Additionally, professional development resources for providers are available to better understand age-appropriate lessons on literacy, numeracy and more. The Sesame Street in Communities affiliation presents Transylvania County with a unique opportunity to become a model for how to improve early childhood from the ground up, family by family, community by community, and county by county.
The State of The Young Child in Transylvania County data report was completed in late 2015 with the following key data points:
- 1,500 children under the age of 5 were living in Transylvania County.
- 78% of kindergarteners tested below or far below proficiency for readiness.
- 38% of rising kindergarteners had not attended any child care or preschool program.
- 274 children were enrolled in 9 regulated, licensed child care centers / preschools and 1 family child care home.
- 255 children were enrolled in 5 non-regulated child care centers / preschools.
- 17 of 35 infants enrolled in Care Coordination for Children were undergoing treatment for neonatal substance abuse.