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Start Off Strong - Hyatt Park Pre-K and Kindergarten Enrollment Event

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April 26, 2021

Contact:  Sarah Conrad
                Communications Specialist


Start Off Strong Event Aims to Increase Kindergarten Enrollment

Richland First Steps partners with Prisma Health and United Way of the Midlands to enroll children in 4K and 5K at Hyatt Park Elementary for 2021-22

Columbia, S.C.- A group of community partners are coming together to get children enrolled in free 4K and 5K programs at their local elementary school.  Hyatt Park Elementary, a Richland School District One school, located at 4200 N. Main Street in Columbia, is inviting families to visit campus for an outdoor, socially distanced event on Thursday, April 29, 2021, from 2-4 pm and Friday, April 30, 2021, from 11 AM -1 PM to learn more about the programs offered for early learners.

"We are excited to welcome families to Hyatt Park Elementary. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs help students build the solid foundation they need to succeed academically," said Dr. Dell Brabham, principal of Hyatt Park Elementary. "In addition to gaining language and numeracy skills, early education programs give children the chance to develop social and emotional skills that are essential to working with others in a classroom environment."

Long-term studies like the High Scope/Perry Preschool Project (  have shown that the benefits of quality early care and education programs can last into adulthood and beyond.  The Perry Project, conducted from 1962-1967, found that at age 40, participants:

  • Had fewer teenage pregnancies
  • Were more likely to have graduated from high school
  • Were more likely to hold a job and have higher earnings
  • Committed fewer crimes
  • Owned their own home and car

In addition to learning more about how to enroll their children in 4K and 5K at Hyatt Park Elementary, families attending the event will have the opportunity to receive:

  • Grocery gift cards (provided by Prisma Health, while supplies last)
  • Fresh produce (provided by Richland First Steps through a partnership with the Carolina Family Engagement Center)
  • Cleaning supplies (provided by Richland First Steps through a partnership with the Carolina Family Engagement Center)
  • New children's books (provided by Hyatt Park through a partnership with United Way of the Midlands)
  • Reusable face masks and other personal protective equipment

Due to the impact of COVID-19, many schools are seeing decreased enrollment in voluntary programs for 4- and 5-year-old students. Not participating in these types of early education programs can put students at a disadvantage when they enter first grade.  "Students who attend high-quality early education programs are more likely to thrive when they reach 1st grade and beyond," said Marcia Bacon, CEO of Richland First Steps. "This is especially true for children who may come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. That's why we are teaming up with schools in Richland One to make sure all families know about the wonderful free learning opportunities available to them right in their neighborhoods."

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From Day 1 to Grade 1, Richland First Steps empowers our community to nurture children, so they are ready to thrive in school.  We are one of 46 local nonprofit First Steps partnerships that collectively served 28,427 children across the state last year.

Learn more about Richland First Steps at RICHLANDFIRSTSTEPS.ORG.

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