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Community Leaders Come Together to Recognize the Importance of Early Childhood Development

On Thursday May 9, 2019, Judge Executive Tim Flener, Morgantown Mayor Billy Phelps, Superintendent Scott Howard and Early Childhood Advocates came together to declare May 10, 2019 as Early Childhood Education Day.  This comes at a very Important time as teachers and child care workers are being recognized during Teacher Appreciation Week and Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.  The community leaders, in collaboration with the Butler-Edmonson Community Early Childhood Council, are working to help raise awareness that early childhood programming is important for all children, families and our community.    In addition to community leaders, some of Butler County’s Early Childhood Professionals were in attendance for the signing.  

Early Childhood Education is focused on the first five years of a child’s life.  These first years, BEFORE a child even goes to school, will impact how ready a child will be for school, how a child will learn at school and how a child acts at school.    The brain development research shows that a child’s brain is developed by the time a child is five years old.  These first five years have the most impact on how a child will learn and grow later in life. 

Superintendent Scott Howard stated, “I want to thank Butler County Judge Flener and Morgantown Mayor Billy Phelps.  We certainly understand the importance of early childhood education.  The emotional, social, and physical development has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become.  That is why the understanding and the need to invest in very young children is so important, to maximize their future well-being”.  

Community leaders want to let Early Childhood Educators know that they appreciate the services that are offered within our community.  There are approximately 45 individuals who work in regulated early childhood settings in Butler county. These settings include the public preschool programs in both elementary schools, the Head Start programs that are currently housed in the elementary schools, and the six regulated child care programs in the county.  

Dr. Amy Hood Waddle, Early Childhood Specialist and Council chair stated that she doesn’t think that everyone understand the importance of the folks working in regulated child care and family child care homes and that they sometimes don’t feel as appreciated as they should.  Dr. Amy said, “they are not babysitters, they are early childhood professionals! They have a very important job to keep our child safe and help them grow, they have a lot of rules to follow, they have on-going training and education to obtain all while caring for our most precious resource.  If I hadn’t had an early childhood professional that I could TRUST, someone to depend on to care for Case during his first years, I wouldn’t have been able to continue working and provide for him”.   Dr. Amy went on to say that Butler County also offers early childhood programming for children who aren’t enrolled in one of the above programs that are also beneficial for young children such as Story Hour and Toddler Tales at the Butler County Public Library, The OWL Academy which is a collaboration between the Family Resource Center, the school system and the Community Early Childhood Council and the LEAP bus (Learn, Explore And  Play) which also is a collaborative project in order to help promote school readiness. 

The Community Early Childhood Council members indicated that while we have all of these programs, Butler and Edmonson counties are both noted in state reports as “child care deserts” because there are not sufficient regulated child care spaces for the number of children under five-years of age in the county, (specifically regulated infant/toddler care).  Council members recognize that many families choose to have their child care for by family members or neighbors.  Council member Jill Norris of Child Care Aware stated that individuals keeping more than three children (not related to the adult) should be regulated. She also advised that many folks are missing out on small business opportunities by not being regulated. Child Care Aware staff are available to meet and discuss with individuals about what it takes to become a regulated setting and the benefits for doing that.  For more information you can visit

Please join the community as they Thank those that care for the young children of our county!  

Signing the proclamation are Judge Executive Tim Flener, Superintendent Scott Howard and Mayor Billy Phelps, who were joined by  elected officials Sherry Johnson, Suzanne Brosnan and Ricky Romans, along with early childhood educators, BCHS School staff, Child Development teacher and student,  and community agency representatives who all serve young children and families. 

A few of the early childhood professionals, from child care, Head Start and public preschool that were able to be at attendance.  Thank you all for your service to young children!  


Front row left to right:  Shirley Blancett, Family Child Care Owner; Lisa Lee, Family Child Care Owner;  Elizabeth Grubb, Head Start;  Stacy Hayes, Child Care Owner/Director

Center:  Michelle Tutko, Head Start

Back row left to right;  Brandie Smith, OWL Academy; Ginny Lockhart, North Butler Preschool; Tina Porter and Denise Ballenger, MES Preschool



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