November 27, 2021

‘Baby Brave’ program growing stronger

(Franklin, GA) — The Baby Braves program continues to grow and is making a noticeable impact within Heard County.

The program has far exceeded the expectations of the original plan that was developed in early 2016.

After discussions between the Heard County School System and the Heard County Collaborative, it was determined that there was a need for an outreach program of children birth to three years of age.

Ephesus Pre-K student Jaxon Anderson is one of the growing contingent of ‘Baby Braves’ (Photo: Baby Braves on Facebook)

This was determined after review of community and school data which indicated a diversity of readiness skills of children starting Pre-K.

The committee also discussed research which noted that brain development occurs faster from birth to three years of age than any other time in life.

This early development has a direct correlation between school readiness and continued school success.

The committee felt that an outreach program was a perfect way to get to know parents and children prior to school age, to provide parent awareness of the importance of engagement and learning that occurs early in a child’s life, and to give parents books and other learning resources to use with their child.

During an initial visit, resources, materials, and information are given to parent(s).

At that time, a Heard County tote filled with books, puzzles, Heard Baby Braves shirt, and an Honorary Diploma is given to the child. Children also get additional books at each Class Reunion to create a love of Reading.

The program has been a great success. The number of Baby Braves continues to grow as does the excitement of the program. One of the most successful parts of the program are the “Class Reunions.”

These are quarterly events that provide activities for children, awareness information for parents, and time for parents and their children to get to know school personnel.

The Class Reunions are held in community parks and at the various schools. By building this early relationship with children, Pre-K teachers have noted less crying on the first few days of school.

Children who have been part of the program may have already visited their classrooms and have met the teachers and administrators at the school they will be attending. This causes less separation anxiety for children and parents.

This program has been a great success and received regional and state notoriety.

Other collaboratives and school systems have contacted the HCSS and HCCP to receive additional information, schedule a visit, or have a representative to speak to their school and/or organization.

The Baby Braves program is funded through grants, business and private donations, and fundraisers.

We are very appreciative of our partners in this endeavor… Kaiser Permanente, Coweta-Fayette EMC, Midway Church, The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, Newnan-Coweta Jaycees, the Alice Huffard Richards Fund, and Southwire.

Anyone interested in partnering with us, please contact Sheri Calhoun for additional information. This is a great way to invest in your community.

The Heard County School System and Heard County Collaborative are excited to be part of such an innovative idea. This is a great opportunity that is not offered in most counties.

If you would like to see what all the excitement is about, “LIKE” us on Facebook to see pictures of our events and parent awareness information.

We are excited about this initiative and want to reach every child who is birth to three years of age. This is an opportunity that you do not want to miss. Everything is completely free and prepared with the age of your child in mind.

If you have not signed your child up for Baby Braves, call 706-675-3320 and ask for Jenny Googe or Sheri Calhoun.

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