The opening of the Clyburn Early Childhood Center answers a demand for accessible and high-quality early education in Kershaw, Lancaster, and Chesterfield counties
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A new early childhood center will open its doors to dozens of preschool children in the town of Kershaw starting next month. The Clyburn Early Childhood Center will offer a variety of early education programs, including First Steps 4K. The free, full-day four-year-old kindergarten program that is part of South Carolina’s state-funded Child Early Reading Development and Education Program (CERDEP).
The Clyburn Early Childhood Center is the result of combining public and private resources among partners, SC First Steps, the town of Kershaw, the Arras Foundation and Lancaster County First Steps.
"Our young children matter. I am so very proud that our families now have the opportunity to send their children to a high-quality, curriculum-based classroom right here in our community. Kershaw is an amazing place to raise a child," said Vincent Sheheen, S.C. Senator 2004-2020.
Prior to the opening of the Clyburn Early Childhood Center, the 2,250 residents of Kershaw did not have access to licensed child care providers in either the town limits or surrounding areas.
The new center is located in the former bank building, a two-story 10,000 square foot structure built in 1910.
"The use of the old building is a creative and innovative way to revitalize the downtown area while also providing a much-needed service to the community and surrounding areas," said Mayor Mark Dorman. "We know families need access to care so parents can go to work or go to school. We know children need high-quality early education experiences so they can thrive and arrive at school ready. This public-private partnership should serve as a model for other communities. Every family and child deserves these types of programs and resources in their towns.”
The Clyburn Early Childhood Center will have classroom space for 60 First Steps 4K students with the opportunity to expand services to three-year-old children in the future.
“Pre-kindergarten is a time for children to explore their interests, make new friends, and learn new things. It’s a time to be joyful and curious, and to let their imaginations run wild. This is the time to build the foundation for lifelong learning,” said Martha Strickland, First Steps 4K state director.
Families are encouraged to reach out the Clyburn Early Childhood Center to discuss enrollment and complete their First Steps 4K student application at www.Free4KSC.org.
A ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the Clyburn Early Childhood Center (100 S. Hampton Street, Kershaw, SC 29067) was held on May 25, 2023.