Richmond organization helps children begin with the end in mind - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Richmond organization helps children begin with the end in mind

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

You are never too young to learn, as we saw in the baby room at Rainbow Station in Henrico County. The babies were already learning valuable lessons through toys, sounds, and even a teacher's smile.

Rainbow Station owner Gail Johnson says this is important to get these little ones ready for school in just a few years.

"If a child gets to school ready to learn, then generally speaking, by third grade, he'll be able to read. This is critical, because if a child can read at third grade, then he has the skills necessary for fourth grade. In fourth grade, he must read to learn. He can no longer have any more time to learn to read, if he's going to remain successful," said Johnson.

Success is the goal, not only of Rainbow Station, but of its partner, Smart Beginnings.The organization is a coalition of public and private businesses as well as community members, working together to get children ready to succeed in school.

It also provides resources not only for the children, but their parents, too- like school readiness plans and even home visits.

Dr. Gary Rhodes is the chairman of Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond.

He is also the president of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and says every year, he sees about 3000 high school graduates who are not ready for college,and says many times, it all stems back to when they were babies.

"The path to become not college ready didn't just start in early school or middle school or high school. It started way before that when they were at home and didn't have nutritional support that they needed. They didn't have the role models that they needed. The parents weren't informed about their health needs," said Dr. Rhodes.

Dr. Rhodes says since Smart Beginnings started in the area in 2006, that scenario is starting to change for the better, as well as the awareness of just how important early childhood education is.

He wants people to know that there are organizations here to help children begin with the end in mind.

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