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Getting Ready to Teach Southington's Littlest Learners

The Community Plan for Southington’s Young Children receives grants that will allow implementation of the pre-school programs.

Dr. Mary Yuskis, center, newly  appointed director of the Southington Early Childhood Collaborative, is surrounded by students from Mrs. Lionetti’s Derynoski School first-grade class at the recent United Way Day of Action. Contributed photo.
Dr. Mary Yuskis, center, newly appointed director of the Southington Early Childhood Collaborative, is surrounded by students from Mrs. Lionetti’s Derynoski School first-grade class at the recent United Way Day of Action. Contributed photo.

Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington (ECCS) is preparing to implement its Community Plan for Southington’s Young Children thanks to an infusion of $75,000 in new grant funding.

The grants include $20,000 from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, $50,000 from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, a Hamden-based nonprofit that supports community-based educational programming for Connecticut children, and $5,000 from the Southington Board of Education.

The grants allowed the Collaborative to promote part-time coordinator Dr. Mary Yuskis to the full-time positon of director, and to begin implementing the recommendations from the Community Plan. The community plan was first presented to local educators, community leaders, the business community and Southington families on May 29 at The Orchards at Southington.

“This is an exciting next step in the road to an even better and brighter future for Southington children and families,” said Yuskis, the plan's load author who has worked closely since her original part-time appointment in January. “I am excited about this opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of early childhood education, to unite those who feel the same, and to coordinate the services and opportunities that are available in Southington while also trying to recognize and develop new ones.” 

“We are proud to continue our important role as a lead funder of the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington, a major component of the Foundation’s First Years First early childhood development initiative,” said Jim Williamson, President of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain. “Thanks to this wonderful collaboration of the Graustein Foundation, the Southington Board of Education and other community partners, we are making a difference in the lives of Southington’s children.”

"On behalf of the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington and its partners, we'd like to thank the Community Foundation, the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund and the Southington Board of Education for the confidence that they have placed in the Collaborative,” added Michelle Slimak, the Collaborative's co-chair. “With Dr. Yuskis at the helm full-time, and with the continued support of these and other community partners, we are entering into a new era of diverse resources and access to high-quality early childhood education for Southington children.”

According to Yuskis, the Community Plan for Southington’s Young Children showcases what Southington is doing right for its young children and what needs to be improved, as well as how the Collaborative can build new and grow existing partnerships in the community. 

During the coming year, the Collaborative and its partners will begin implementing new services and initiatives to promote the health, education and well-being of Southington’s children, Yuskis said. Priority items is increasing community awareness of the importance of early childhood education in preparing children for success.

The Community Plan is available on-line atwww.southingtonearlychildhood.org in the About Us section.

 

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