First Steps

Who We Are

Nearly one in seven SC children are assessed as not ready for first grade. In some communities, this statistic is as poor as one in four, or greater. Research studies repeatedly show that children who arrive unprepared for first grade’s challenges have a difficult time catching up and succeeding throughout the rest of their school years. Many of these students drop out of school or do not find fulfilling productive jobs after high school as a result of their slow start.

A child’s readiness is determined by many critical components such as good health, nurturing and positive, participatory parenting. High quality early learning experiences in the home, child care, and school settings allow children to thrive at a time when the brain is most formative.

South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness was signed into law in 1999 to help improve school readiness for the state’s youngest learners. First Steps is a comprehensive, results-oriented statewide education initiative to help prepare children to reach first grade healthy and ready to succeed. Each South Carolina county has a First Steps partnership comprised of business and community leaders, early education professionals, parents, faith-based and agency partners. First Steps partnerships examine unmet needs in their communities to help local young children and their families. Through its 501(c) 3 status, First Steps mobilizes resources beyond state-allocated dollars, leveraging local private and public funds, federal grants, planned gifts, in-kind contributions, and volunteer time.

First Steps Enabling Legislation
“There is established South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness, a comprehensive, results-oriented initiative for improving early childhood development by providing, through county partnerships, public and private funds and support for high-quality early childhood development and education services for children by providing support for their families’ efforts toward enabling their children to reach school ready to learn.”
– SECTION 59-152-10 (June 1999)

First Steps is accepting applications! 

It is designed to:
  • Support parents in their goal to serve as their children’s first and best teachers; 
  • Increase the quality of early care and education;
  • Provide parents with easy access to needed early interventions for children with unique development needs;
  • Promote early education programs: 
  • Help parents transition their children into school; 
  • Improve health and well being and strengthen families. 

For more information, please contact: 

Lyn Kinard, Lexington 4 First Steps Contact 

Phone: 803-394-8150