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About

Richland First Steps is your local partner
in early childhood education for Richland
County’s children age 0 to 5 years old.

About

Our Mission

From Day 1 to Grade 1, Richland First Steps empowers our community to nurture children, so they are ready to thrive in school.

Our Vision

A community committed to ensuring the school readiness of its children.

What we do

Richland First Steps works as a partnership with people, agencies, organizations, and institutions to enable families to assist their children to enter first grade healthy and ready to thrive in school. Our focus is on children up to age 5 and their caregivers, including parents and child care providers, working to:

Increase Capacity with Parents, Guardians and Child Care Providers

Increase Capacity with Parents, Guardians and Child Care Providers

  • To understand the importance of early childhood education and quality child care
Increase Capacity with Parents, Guardians and Child Care Providers

Maximize Early Brain Development

  • The brain is not fully developed at birth; 85% of core brain development occurs before age 4
  • Enriched environments are essential
Increase Capacity with Parents, Guardians and Child Care Providers

Promote a Healthy Start

  • Prenatal/postnatal care
  • Medical home for every child
  • Assess and refer observed developmental delays
Increase Capacity with Parents, Guardians and Child Care Providers

Advocate the Importance of Play

  • Motor skill development
  • Social/emotional development
  • Lifelong healthy lifestyles
  • Limit passive play (TV, video games, all screen time)
Increase Capacity with Parents, Guardians and Child Care Providers

Establish Foundation of Literacy (Early Reading)

  • Increase vocabulary
  • Increase school readiness
  • Create lifelong learners and promote love for reading
  • Improve test scores (NAAP, PASS, End of Course, ACT, SAT)
  • Decrease dropout rates

Our History

The SC General Assembly established the First Steps to School Readiness initiative in 1999 to address the need for high quality early care and education in our state. The First Steps network is made up of 46 county-level partnerships who work across agency lines to develop strategies to address community issues that impact children’s school readiness and well-being.

Richland County First Steps to School Readiness is a charitable, tax-exempt (IRS Code 501(c)3) organization created through state legislation in June 1999.

In 2020, First Steps 46 county-level partnerships collectively served

28,427

children across the state

Our Impact

First Steps’ 46 county-level partnerships collectively served 28,427 children across the state in 2020.

Richland First Steps has been very successful in leveraging resources to maximize the state investment received via allocation from the legislature. Since inception, Richland First Steps has leveraged $21,989,051 from sources outside of state government. That’s $1.18 for every state dollar.

We believe in using the most cost-effective methods to help children take strong and sure first steps into life. Our programs for families and child care providers are developed in accordance with and adhering to nationally-recognized, evidence-based models that have a proven positive impact for children and families.

To learn more, download our annual report

Download Report
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