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December 13, 2011
Childcare providers undergo training

DANVILLE AND PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY - Thirty four childcare providers met on Nov. 12 to learn how to prepare young children to read.

The PALS assessment is the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening assessment used by 99% of elementary schools in Virginia. It measures reading readiness in kindergarten. Danville City Schools has the fifth lowest performance in the state. Kindergarten students in Pittsylvania County Schools perform near the state average. The event was sponsored by Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania.

"Pre-literacy helps the school system because the children get an early start at literacy and numeracy activities," said Teresa Petty, director of instructional support programs for Pittsylvania County Schools. "We are really excited that so many childcare providers took time out on a Saturday to come and learn strategies that will help them be successful."

"We need preschool students to understand stories, be able to re-tell a familiar story to an adult, recognize familiar print such as names or signs and to identify letters of the alphabet by the first day of kindergarten," explains Angela Wells, quality care and education coordinator, Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania.

"Smart Beginnings is here to increase collaboration between individuals and organizations serving children from birth to age five. When experienced school board administrators like Teresa Petty take time to empower childcare centers, we know we are making progress," said Ann Vandervliet Stratton, executive director, Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania.

"Using the Pre-K PALS assessment helps me develop a plan on how help each individual child," explained Angela Harrison, lead teacher, Pittsylvania County Head Start. Deana Crider, program director for Play N Pretend, said she looks forward to implementing the assessment.

Participating childcare centers included: Harvest Corner Child Care, N the Beginning, Children First, Howard's Day Care, Tot Spot, Pittsylvania County Head Start, Danville City Head Start, Wee Center, Jean's Gentle Care, Little Blessings, Play N Pretend and GAB Dan's Christian Daycare.

Petty, along with Amanda Bennett, Virginia Preschool Initiative teacher at Gretna Elementary School and Faith Stamps, community impact director for United Way of Danville-Pittsylvania County facilitated the training.

To learn more about PALS assessment, click here.

Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania is one of twenty eight coalitions in VA. Its mission is to ensure that every child is ready for success in kindergarten and in life. For more information call 797-8887 or email