Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) and Jackson Health System have teamed up to share information with parents of newborns on the importance of high-quality education from an early age and to highlight programs that are available in the community.
As a result of this partnership, M-DCPS will be providing a care package that includes a “Future M-DCPS Grad” bib, hand sanitizer and information on various stimulating early learning programs to families having babies at Jackson – South Florida’s first designated Baby Friendly health system. The Jackson Health System (JHS) includes four hospitals where babies are delivered: The Women’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial, Jackson North Medical Center, Jackson South Medical Center and José Milton Memorial Hospital at Jackson West Medical Center.
The early learning programs focus on social-emotional, language and cognitive development and prepare young learners for school readiness. Research has demonstrated the critical importance of the first five years of a child’s life to brain development. The experiences and interactions children have in these early years help to establish the foundation for future learning.
What does M-DCPS offer by age?
- Age 0-2: Early Head Start: M-DCPS offers free infant and toddler programs for children from birth to age 2 from income-eligible families in select schools across Miami-Dade County through the Early Head Start program funded by Miami Dade County Community Action & Human Services Department (CAHSD) Head Start/Early Head Start. Families can apply online at dadeschools.netor in person at one of the schools offering the program. Applications are accepted year-round.
- Age 3: Head Start: The M-DCPS Head Start program, funded by Miami Dade County CAHSD Head Start/Early Head Start provides full-day education health, nutrition, and family engagement services to children beginning at age 3. Income-eligible families can apply online at dadeschools.netor in person at one of the schools offering the program. Applications are accepted year-round.
- Age 3: Inclusion/Reverse Mainstream Program: The Department of Early Childhood Programs offers placement for 3-year-old children in their Pre-K special education inclusion and reverse mainstream programs across the District. This program provides a free, full-day opportunity for qualifying students to serve as role models.
- Age 4: Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program: The Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program (VPK) is a free educational program designed to prepare 4- and 5-year-olds for kindergarten and build the foundation for their academic success. M-DCPS VPK programs can be found in over 200 public schools across Miami-Dade County.
JHS’ Baby-Friendly designation is a highly coveted support standard of care, promoted by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The program recognizes healthcare facilities that give mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding or feeding their babies formula safely. It also encourages new moms and babies to stay together in the same room from the moment of birth and promotes skin-to-skin contact as much as possible.
For more information, visit the M-DCPS Department of Early Childhood Programs website at https://earlychildhood.dadeschools.net or call 305-995-7632.
For more information about Jackson Health System’s maternity services visit JacksonMaternity.org.
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