Garden County – Week of the Young Child – April 24-29, 2017
Garden County – Week of the Young Child – April 24-29, 2017
Posted on 04/24/2017


As part of this celebration, the local Planning Region Team 14 (serving Garden, Deuel, Cheyenne, and Kimball counties) is coordinating efforts with local programs to inform communities about what early childhood efforts look like in your county. 


Child Care: Garden County’s single licensed childcare program has lots going on.  Kicks and Giggles, owned by Rita Kirch, is located in Oshkosh.  In July of 2016, Rita and her staff began a partnership with Sixpence Sprouting Success: a program funded through three grants awarded to the Panhandle by the Sixpence Early Learning Fund. The Sixpence Early Learning Fund is Nebraska's signature effort to put our state's youngest and most vulnerable children on the path to success in school and life. Sixpence promotes high-quality early care and learning opportunities that guide the healthy development of infants and toddlers.

Rita and her staff receive coaching and are working hard to become highly educated about the needed experiences of young children through professional development opportunities.  In addition, they are making changes to their environments both indoor and out, in order to provide infants and toddlers with quality experience. These efforts will be measured by Kicks and Giggles participation in the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System: Step Up to Quality. 


Home Visitation: You may recognize the Sixpence Early Learning Fund in your district’s budget because childcare is not their only involvement in Garden County. Sixpence Home Visitation of Garden County is provided through a partnership between Volunteers of America-Western Nebraska (VOA-WN) and Garden County Schools (GCS), funded through a grant from Sixpence.  A family home consultant provides home visitation to 12-15 families of infants and toddlers who may be at risk. This local Sixpence program uses the Parents as Teachers curriculum and engages participants through regular meetings, social events, and ongoing support! To learn more about this program and see if you qualify for participation, please contact the VOA-WN office (308-778-5548).


Preschool: Garden County Schools and VOA-Western Nebraska partner to provide the local preschool opportunities for families. The program is housed in Garden County Elementary and provides half day preschool programs to children ages 3-5. The program’s teacher is Katie Ashmore, along with support staff; provide students with age appropriate activities to help prepare them to be Kindergarten ready. If you are interested in enrolling your child in preschool, please contact the VOA-WN office (308-778-5548).


Early Intervention: Garden County Schools, in partnership with the Early Development Network, provide services coordination and intervention for children. Kids who receive services with ages birth to three years, who are identified with delays or deemed at-risk based on a medical condition or environmental exposure that may result in developmental delays. Local school district providers bring services to the home to support families in encouraging their child’s development. Early Intervention is evidence-based as a process that will catch children early to increase the probability that they will be ready to learn by Kindergarten. If you have concerns about your child’s development, please contact Megan Myers at the ESU office in Sidney (308-254-4677).


Special Education: Garden County Schools have certified staff to provide additional services to children ages three to 21 that continue to need support as they navigate the educational system. If you have concerns about your child’s learning, please contact GCS (308-772-3336).


Wow! Look at all that is happening for the youngest learners in Garden County! Take time to thank an early childhood professional this week for making the positive difference in a child’s life!