ELLISVILLE-After nearly two years of waiting because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Resource and Referral Center at Jones College officially opened to serve the community. The ribbon-cutting and Open House celebration allowed daycare providers and community members to see everything the new Center offers for childcare professionals to family members and college students.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Gina Carr, Director of the Resource and Referral Center at Jones College. “We are thrilled to finally be able to share with the community these much-needed resources. Having the Resource and Referral Center on the campus of Jones College brings awareness to the importance of high-quality early childcare and education in our community.”
The mission of the Resource and Referral Center Network is to provide technical assistance, professional development, including a lending library for childcare providers and families, to support a nurturing learning environment in the home and the classroom. Ultimately, the goal is to promote healthy growth and learning for all children.
“So much happens in a young child’s brain early on. It is so critical that we capitalize on those formable years and that is what this new Center is about. In a perfect world, every kid entering kindergarten would be prepared socially and educationally, but sadly that’s not true. So, that is what this center is about, preparing kids both socially and educationally,” said Jones College Executive Vice President, Chief Academic and Financial Officer, Rick Youngblood.
The Center offers free resources, like books, toys, and educational materials including math and math manipulatives, science and STEM kits, language and literacy kits, curriculum enhancement materials, resource books for parenting and curriculum development and dramatic play items. Also, the Ellison Die Cut machine and lamination services are available for early childcare providers, elementary education students, parents, grandparents, and community members. By offering these resources and services free of charge, it allows providers the opportunity to invest back into their programs. Partnering with families and the community creates stronger families and a stronger community. The Resource and Referral Center also offers technical assistance for directors and classroom teachers and hosts training workshops for families and childcare providers.
“We work in conjunction with a different college throughout the state of Mississippi and come together monthly for training and professional development. We are one large network of resource and referral centers that functions together,” said Carr.
The materials provided in the Center are developmentally appropriate and are available to residents in Clarke, Covington, Greene, Jasper, Jones, Smith and Wayne Counties. Additionally, the new Center offers students in Jones College’s Early Childhood Education Technology program a wealth of resources to enhance not only their educational journey but also their student teaching experience, free of charge.
In addition, the ‘R & R’ Center provides a one-stop-shop for families and childcare providers, which includes assisting families to find and choose childcare settings that meet their children’s needs. Sensory sensitive toys and resources which parents can try out for two weeks to ensure their child benefits from that toy or resource are also available.
Resource and Referral Center Networks are part of a federal law, required in all 50 states and are funded with federal dollars through the Mississippi Department of Human Services Division of Early Childhood Care and Development. Jones College’s Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. except when Jones College is closed for holidays. For more information about the JC Resource and Referral Center, call 601-477-4139 or email at, email@example.com