Thursday, March 25, 2010
ICS opening center on Rust campus
By TERESA HUGHES
The Institute of Community Services Inc. (ICS) will soon begin operation of another Early Head Start center in Holly Springs.
The old child day care facility on the Rust College campus will become an ICS Early Head Start Center, according to ICS Executive Director Eloise Phillips McClinton.
The day care facility was closed down two years ago when the expense of running it was not economical as a self-sustaining operation, according to college administration sources. Under an agreement worked out with Rust, the contract to run the Early Head Start on the campus requires that ICS takes care of the utility bills and keeps up regular maintenance on the building.
ICS is nearing completion of the necessary renovations, both inside and outside, to meet federal guidelines, McClinton said.
“Our contract with Rust covers this year and next year, but hopefully we will get additional funding and it will continue on,” she said.
McClinton expressed the timely opportunity offered by the college for the use of the facility. She said there is a long waiting list of people trying to get into the Early Head Start program, and the partnership with Rust will serve the community well.
“There’s a wide need for infants and toddlers to be in an early learning program in order that they have the basic knowledge prior to going into Head Start or another day care,” she said.
Dr. Leon Howard, division chair of education at Rust, welcomes the new partnership with ICS. The day care center on campus that operated for several years until it closed was under his area of management and served also as a laboratory for education majors. Howard said the college decided to shut the operation due to low head count of students and the several competitors that offer similar services to children at a lower cost to parents.
“It was hard to get qualified students,” he said. “For example if parents met requirement and the qualifications at ICS or other day care facilities, it would probably not cost them anything, whereas it costs them about $65 per week at the Rust day care.”
Howard said the Early Head Start operation will benefit Rust education majors as well, and he’s looking forward to such collaboration.
“Our students in early childhood and childcare management need service learning hours and internships, so I think we can all work together,” he said.
There are 20 Head Start centers in 13 counties in north Mississippi, and ICS serves 180 children in its Early Head Start program, from toddlers to age three, including pregnant moms. McClinton said ICS expects 72 new intakes to be spread throughout three counties.
“Twenty-four students will be at Rust, 16 children in Neshoba County, and 32 in Grenada County,” she said.
Editor’s Note: Contributing Writer Teresa Hughes is a journalism major at Rust College and associate editor of the campus newspaper, The Rustorian.
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