Greenville First Steps is a local non-profit that uses state, federal, and private funds to support programs to measurably improve school readiness outcomes for children. We achieve this goal by partnering with public and private organizations (including churches, schools, neighborhoods, childcare providers, and businesses). Our goal is to support families as their child’s first and most important teacher, to ensure children enter school on track and ready to succeed.
South Carolina First Steps was created by the legislature in 1999. Since our inception we have helped nearly 340,000 of South Carolina’s youngest children and their families get ready for school.
Nearly one in seven S.C. children are assessed as not ready for first grade. Research studies repeatedly show that children who arrive unprepared for first grade’s challenges have a difficult time catching up and succeeding throughout the rest of their school years. Many of these students drop out of school or do not find fulfilling, productive jobs after high school as a result of their slow start.
A child’s readiness is determined by many critical components including good health, nurturing parenting, and positive learning environments. High quality early learning experiences in the home, childcare, and school settings allow children to thrive at a time when the brain is most formative.
Greenville First Steps understands the challenges and burdens a teen parent faces in raising a child while simultaneously going to high school. Children born to teen moms and mothers who do not have a high school degree face an uphill battle to enter school ready to succeed. Greenville First Steps is uniquely positioned to play a role as a leader by providing leadership, resources, and tools.
Greenville First Steps recognizes the importance of helping childcare centers be better businesses in our community. Families rely on these companies to be there when they are needed, implement sound operational practices, communicate well, and have professional and trained staff.
Greenville First Steps understands the importance of children receiving a healthy start. Children who are born at a low birth weight or have a developmental delay could fall behind their peers before they even arrive at school.
Learning does not begin on the first day of kindergarten. Parents should feel confident knowing when they read daily with their children and engage in family strengthening activities, their children will be better prepared to succeed in school.
Greenville First Steps understands the importance of a unified community voice in support of school readiness. Families who hear a consistent message about school readiness from trusted members of their community are more likely to implement strategies to ensure their child is ready to succeed.
Greenville First Steps recognizes the need for long-term sustainability and fiscal independence. By taking a lead in coordinating efforts to support school readiness, we can guide local funders in adopting early learning as a priority.