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Child-care resource center opens office in Oxford
OXFORD – Northwest Mississippi parents, early-care and education providers and community members will be closer to educational materials when the Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral Network opens new offices on March 5.
The Northwest Mississippi Resource and Referral offices will be at 1097 Jackson Ave. West, near the Oxford Mall. The network is working with the Lafayette-Oxford-University Excel by 5 program, the United Way and the University of Mississippi. The Excel by 5 program’s newly established Family Resource Center will share the facility. In addition to items available for use at the center, an array of items will be available for check out.
Mississippi State University Extension Service oversees the Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral Network, which receives funding from the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Division of Early Childhood Care and Development. The network supports parents, children, community members, and early child-care and education professionals seeking information about quality child care.
The Resource and Referral sites, most of which are located on community college campuses, serve all 82 counties in Mississippi. The Oxford center, housed in a facility provided by the University of Mississippi, will serve seven counties in northwest Mississippi.
Louise Davis, network director, said the program’s goal is to improve the educational environment for all children to promote better learning outcomes.
“We target parents, early-care and education providers, prekindergarten teachers, school-age-care providers, grandparents and community members,” she said. “We offer the resources and training on how to use educational materials.”
Ann Marie Ross, a field technical assistant, and Andrea Barton, a program assistant, will staff the center. Initial working hours will be 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Eventually, hours will be extended and include some Saturday mornings to accommodate “after-hours” users.
The Northwest Resource and Referral Center and Excel by 5 are hosting two upcoming open house events to reveal opportunities and materials available through the programs. The first event is for families from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. on March 5. The second event is geared for early-care and education providers from 9 a.m. until noon on March 9.
These free sessions will include an overview of available resources and check-out procedures. Center personnel will facilitate a hands-on activity to design materials for classrooms. To register for the one-hour sessions, early-care and education providers need to call the center at (662) 915-2704 by March 6. The center is located in the former City Cleaners building.
The Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral Network offers program information by telephone at (886) 706-8827 or online at http://www.childcaremississippi.org.