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New early childhood education registration process introduced during recruitment fair
STEP

New early childhood education registration process introduced during recruitment fair

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Submitted by Kris Landrum

A new opportunity for parents to more easily access registration to early childhood education and/or daycare for their young children will kick off in Franklin County with a recruitment fair on Saturday, March 14 at the Rocky Mount Farmer’s Market.

Called Smart2Start, the program offers “one-stop shopping” for parents to apply to enroll their children for the 2020-21 school year using a single form for public schools, early education programs and private providers.

Parents can visit the farmer’s market between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to learn more about the program and fill out the application to enroll their children in Franklin County pre-K, the YMCA Land of Wonder, private child care or Head Start and Early Head Start through STEP, Inc. (Solutions That Empower People).

Items needed for enrollment include birth certificate, proof of address, recent income source, insurance information and immunization records.

Smart2Start was created by United Way of Roanoke Valley as a means to streamline the application process for parents who previously had to fill out a separate application for each provider.

The application will enter a portal where United Way and its partners can evaluate the family’s needs and preferences to find matches that have open spots at nearly 150 providers in Botetourt, Franklin, Craig and Roanoke counties and in Roanoke and Salem.

Community partners also will be available during the recruitment fair with information about resources available to families. In addition, there will be face painting, balloon animals, age-appropriate games, treats and giveaways.

Signing up through Smart2Start is free. An online application is available at smart2start.org.

STEP’s Head Start/Early Head Start programs include child developmental screenings and assessments, health assessments, family support, community engagement, qualified staff and full-day services, along with early childhood education.

Options include home-based services for pregnant mothers, infants and toddlers and classroom options for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

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