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Countywide Parks and Readiness campaign underway

On Saturday, Oct. 28, several community partners gathered at City County Park for the ribbon cutting of the Parks and Readiness campaign. This campaign was a partnership between the Nicholasville-Jessamine County Parks and Recreation and the Jessamine County Community Early Childhood Council.

The Jessamine County CECC has been influencing families to have their children ready to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences since 2013.

The council membership has multiple county agencies, including the Jessamine County Health Department, Jessamine County Public Library, YMCA, Jessamine County Head Start, local daycares, all elementary school family resource centers, local businesses, the CARE group and more.

In 2016/2017, the council was fully funded by the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood at $22,000. These funds were used to provide multiple programs and services, including Curious Kids Workshops, Kindergarten Readiness on the Go, a Healthy Families Resource Fair and establish the Parks and Readiness Campaign.

According to the 2016 Early Childhood Profile,  less than half of children screened in Jessamine County were ready to learn, and one of the domains where children scored the lowest was in physical development.

With that in mind, the Jessamine county CECC Marketing Subcommittee looked around at what other counties in the state were doing to meet this need, and were inspired by a project in Pulaski County.

With imaginations sparked, the Jessamine County CECC worked to create a design for signs that go in play areas. Sharon Lee, the Jessamine County CECC Marketing Subcommittee chair says they contacted John Howard, the deputy director of Nicholasville-Jessamine County Parks and Recreation, and presented their idea.

“He immediately jumped on board,” Lee said. He was so positive and supportive. He and everyone at Parks and Recreation have been wonderful partners to the CECC. He has been a tremendous help with installing the park signs in each of the five parks where they are now ready to be used. We appreciate his partnership very much.”

On each of the signs are images and text to encourage children to participate in fun physical activities.

The signs also promote family engagement, since children need assistance with reading and modeling of behaviors.

In addition, QR codes were added to the signs so that parents and caregivers can access the new Parks and Readiness webpage on the Jessamine County CECC website. Families can find these signs at City County, Lake Mingo, Rock Fence and Woodrow Grow Parks.

“Bring the children in your life,” Lee said. “Spend time interacting with the signs. I think you will have a great experience. The children will learn while they are having fun, and that’s the best way to learn.”