Open House set for new child care resource center at Northwes

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SENATOBIA, MS (08/09/2017) An open house for Northwest Mississippi Community College's new resource center for child care providers will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 29 from 5-8 p.m. The center is housed in the Berry Building, Room 105 on the Senatobia campus. The center will serve child care providers in Northwest's 11-county district.

Marti McCloud, coach and professional development specialist, will be implementing the training and coaching for providers, while Heather Perryman, resource and referral associate, will be cataloging and checking out resources at the center. Perryman will also be managing the training calendar, once trainings begin Sept. 5.

"We are excited about the open house, which will include giveaways, a scavenger hunt, fun activities and crafts for the children and their families. Child care providers, faculty, and families are welcome. There will be door prizes, and refreshments will be served," McCloud said.

The Early Childhood Academy (ECA) is funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) with funds from the Child Care and Development Block Grant. The ECA will provide professional development training and coaching for child care providers. It will also provide a resource and referral center for technical support along with learning materials to check out.

McCloud explained that training classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-8 p.m. with extended hours in the resource center on those days for providers to come and check out resources before training begins. They will also have training one Saturday a month. "Child care providers need 15 hours of continuing education each year for licensing; this is something we can provide on our campus," McCloud said.

ECA's services extend past training, according to McCloud. As a coach, she can provide a more in-depth, goal-setting relationship with providers, and help them develop plans to meet their goals. For providers who want to grow a "comprehensive" center rather than a "standard" center, the professional development support will give more in-depth, individualized coaching and collaboration.

Both families and child care providers will be able to check out learning materials, including professional and parenting books and toys from the resource center, according to McCloud. "We are in the process of cataloging everything and putting some learning materials in thematic units. This helps parents and directors when they are selecting learning materials and planning for rich learning experiences. The thematic units help ECA make better decisions about what learning materials are needed as we connect learning across domains," she said. Technical support will be provided in the resource center and onsite at the child care centers. "Parents and families can come in and let their children play in the center while finding out about local learning centers and other support that is available to children in the community," McCloud said.

She explained that parents who want to check out materials for their children will have to provide photo identification, and they will be able to keep items for two weeks. Child care centers will be able to check out materials to take to their centers for the children, as well, McCloud said.

The ECA is a different entity from Northwest's Early Childhood Education Technology program and Child Enrichment Center, which is housed in the Marilyn R. Spears Building on the Senatobia campus.

Both McCloud and Perryman are Northwest alumni. Perryman recently graduated with an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. McCloud holds a master's degree in Early Childhood Education and a master's degree in Educational Leadership. Her father, Claude Haraway, was an instructor at Northwest's DeSoto Center for many years.

"Northwest has always been a special part of our family. I really wanted to get into professional development, and this position seemed to be perfect for my background. I am excited to see ECA and Northwest help children and child care providers receive the resources they need to be successful," McCloud said.

For more information on the open house or ECA, contact McCloud at 662-560-1137 or email

Pictured: An Open House for the new Early Childhood Academy (ECA), located on the Senatobia campus of Northwest Mississippi Community College, will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 29 from 5-8 p.m. The ECA will provide professional development training and coaching for child care providers in Northwest's 11-county district. Staff members are (l-r) Marti McCloud, coach and professional development specialist and Heather Perryman, resource and referral associate. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)