Smooth Transitions

Grant provides ‘strong start’ for local preschoolers

Forty-two local preschool teachers, representing 10 local preschools, attended Second Step Social Emotional Training facilitated by Cynda Mellish, retired educator. A Strong Start Community Grant from Early Learning Indiana, to Montgomery County Community Foundation made the training possible.
Forty-two local preschool teachers, representing 10 local preschools, attended Second Step Social Emotional Training facilitated by Cynda Mellish, retired educator. A Strong Start Community Grant from Early Learning Indiana, to Montgomery County Community Foundation made the training possible.
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Forty-two teachers from 10 local preschools (Discovery Preschool, Fuzzy Bear Preschool & Daycare, Hand in Hand Learning Center, Little Creations Child Care, Little Mounties Preschool, Montessori Preschool, New Beginnings Child Care, New Hope Preschool, Rainbows & Rhymes Preschool, and Rock Paper Scissors Preschool) received training in Social Emotional Learning in two separate training sessions held earlier this month.

Montgomery County Community Foundation coordinated the training after receiving a Strong Start Community Grant from Early Learning Indiana.  Studies show that a smooth transition from preschool to kindergarten reduces academic fadeout, improves academic outcome, encourages family involvement and allows children to navigate a significant period of adjustment.

With the successful proposal, MCCF purchased Second Step curriculum and provided training for local preschool teachers. All three local school corporations currently use Second Step, making it the best choice. Students will develop skills in four key areas of social-emotional competence: empathy and compassion, emotion management, friendship skills and problem solving and skills for learning. Proficiency in these skills not only improves the child’s success, but also the learning environment of their classmates. Families will receive regular communications and materials so that they may use and reinforce the skills at home too. Local resident and retired educator, Cynda Mellish facilitated the trainings. Hoosier Heartland State Bank graciously shared their new Success Center for the trainings, which allowed for generous social distancing.

Teachers wasted no time in implementing the lessons. Some started immediately and others are starting soon, a testament to their desire to help their students develop these skills. The kits come complete with everything needed, making it easy to use, right out of the box. 

The MCCF board of directors have placed a high priority on early childhood learning and this training is a part of over $255,000 directed to early childhood education in 2020. MCCF manages more than 220 endowed funds, each established by donors with visions of making Montgomery County a better place to live. Since 1991, well over $23 million in grants and scholarships has been awarded to agencies and students right here in Montgomery County.

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