Educator Stresses Importance of Early Childhood Education

Starke County Preschool Project logoStarke County Preschool Project logoStarke County parents of young children are encouraged to attend tomorrow’s Starke County Preschool Fair at the community center in downtown Knox. The Starke County Early Education Advisory Council organized the event, which will take place from 5 until 7 p.m. CDT. More than 25 preschools and community organizations will have booths, and several will offer activities for children. Starke County Head Start Education Manager Dawn Wallen says sending your child to a quality preschool is an investment in their future. The kindergarten curriculum has become more rigorous since many of today’s parents and grandparents were in school. Wallen says students are expected to know and recognize all 26 letters of the alphabet and the sounds of letters. They should also be able to recognize numerals 1 through 20. “It is harder for a child who does not have any preschool experience when they enter kindergarten. I have personally talked to a lot of the kindergarten teachers around this area. They tell me they can tell the children who have attended head start and any other preschool. They are ready to come to kindergarten,” Wallen says.

Head Start serves 158 children in Starke and Marshall Counties whose families meet income guidelines. The Starke County Community Foundation offers preschool scholarships for families who make too much money to qualify for head start but can’t afford to send their children to a private preschool. Information about that program will be available at tomorrow evening’s event. A free, kid-friendly meal will be served as well. Other participating organizations include the Starke County public libraries, First Steps, local schools, WIC, Dunebrook, Community Services of Starke County, IU-Health, HealthLinc, Healthy Families and many others. The fair is sponsored by IU Health Starke Hospital, the Starke County Community Foundation and Moving Starke County Forward. For more information, contact Sarah Origer at the Starke County Community Foundation at 574-772-3665 or by email at