Our Programs

County Programs:

PAT Program:

Thank you to our PAT partners! Dorchester County Libraries ABC Quality Child Care Center partners Baby Net Parents as Teachers (PAT) is an evidence-based home visiting program designed to build strong communities, thriving families and children who are healthy, safe and ready to succeed. PAT services include:

  1. Personal Visits at least twice monthly.
  2. Monthly Group Connections with other PAT families.
  3. Screenings and Assessments to identify developmental concerns.
  4. Connections to Outside Resources that families may need to succeed.

Quality Enhancement:

First Steps’ parent home visitation strategies are designed to equip adult clients with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote the school readiness, healthy development and long-term success of their preschool-aged children.

  1. Personal Visits at least twice monthly
  2. Monthly Group Connections with other PCH families
  3. Screenings and Assessments to identify developmental concerns
  4. Connections to Outside Resources that families may need to succeed

Childcare Training:

High-quality childcare hinges on high-quality professional development that meets the needs of the local childcare workforce. First Steps-sponsored training is certified through the SC Center for Childcare Career Development and includes topics in the areas of nutrition, health and safety, curriculum, child guidance, professional development and program administration. Best practices in training include not only the training itself, but follow-up in the classroom.

Family Literacy:

Dorchester County First Steps has created over 170 Literacy Kits which are housed in the both Dorchester County Libraries. In 2020 we are expanding the Literacy Kits to select QE classes. Teachers will receive a Theme-based Literacy Kit filled with a book related to the theme and toys, activities and lessons for the children. Each month children will receive a book related to the theme for their personal library. Parents will be coached on how to help their child read the book as well.

Count Down to Kindergarten:

Countdown to Kindergarten (CTK) is a summer home visitation model connecting rising kindergartners and their families with their future teachers. The program is designed:

  • to forge strong and lasting home-school relationships,
  • to acquaint children and families with the state and classroom expectations to increase the likelihood of school success,
  • to increase parent involvement in the early grades (particularly in hard-to-reach communities), when children’s learning is foundational for life success; and
  • to increase public awareness of the importance of school readiness and provide ways for parents and communities to impact children’s early school success.

Countdown to Kindergarten integrates all of the following:

Home Visitation. Teachers make six visits over the summer to the homes of participating students and families. Children and families are introduced to actual materials used in kindergarten and are given a Kindergarten Transition Toolkit to keep.

Learning Celebration. The last visit is a “field trip” to the school where the child will attend class in the fall.

Public Awareness. Throughout the summer, First Steps releases tips to media to help parents and caregivers get children ready for kindergarten.

State Programs:

Permanently established by the SC Read to Succeed Act in 2014, the SC Child Early Reading Development and Education Program (CERDEP) provides full-day four-year-old-kindergarten programs in 64 South Carolina school districts.  Enrollment is offered at no cost to eligible children.

In addition to the offerings of the state’s public-school districts, SC First Steps offers parents the opportunity to enroll their eligible children with more than 200 private, faith- and community-based preschool providers statewide.