Irmo Police officers will now be equipped with informational materials and items for younger kids

Posted 5/16/24

Irmo Police officers will now be equipped with informational materials and items for younger kids.

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Irmo Police officers will now be equipped with informational materials and items for younger kids


Irmo Police officers will now be equipped with informational materials and items for younger kids.

Ready By Five, a Lexington-Richland District 5 program, has armed Irmo Police officers with bags that contain a stuffed teddy bear, book and a postcard with links to resources available to families in the district.

“This partnership between School District Five and Irmo Police will ensure that we can better serve those in our community who may not be aware of the services the district provides to some of the community’s youngest learners," School District Five Coordinator of Family Literacy, Parenting and Social Work Services Jennifer Felkel is quoted saying in a release. "This partnership provides us another avenue to educate and share resources with families in order to help make their transition to school easier.”

According to a release, the program provides these resources to families with children from prenatal to kindergarten with the goal to help prepare parents to be their children's best and most important teacher.

Other goals from the district website include:

• To provide parents with developmental information about their preschool children and help parents plan for upcoming stages of development;

• To encourage parents to be fully participating partners in their child's education, beginning at birth and continuing throughout the child's school years;

• To share age-appropriate activities with families to promote development, family fun and learning;

• To share information about effective, research-based parenting;

• To partner with schools in our district to assist children and their families in making the transition to public school;

• To partner with community agencies to provide all families with the resources they need to raise healthy children who are ready to learn;

• To assess children for developmental milestones (intellectual, language, social-emotional and motor);

• To provide vision, hearing, and dental screenings, and;

• To verify up-to-date immunizations to ensure children are healthy and ready for school.

Andrea Grinstead, Lieutenant – Special Operations Division for the Irmo Police Department, told the Chronicle that all officers have been given information regarding the program and how it works. She added that the department is currently in the process of getting each officer their bags.

According to Grinstead, the district has been very adamant about giving the department more bags if needed, which she added will most likely be in the near future. The supplies themselves come through the district's partnerships through South Carolina First Steps, a non-profit focused on school readiness.

“We hope to achieve more community engagement and for children to be excited about learning to read while assisting parents and caregivers with the tools they need to support the development of their children,” Grinstead said.

Grinstead told the Chronicle that Serg. Brett Mielke, community services division of the department, played a big role in bringing the Ready By Five program to the department. She said that Mielke attended a workshop the district held and was very excited to bring it to the department and get it implemented.

“We are very excited to be a part of such an important program that works to prepare children for school even before they walk through the door, while providing parents/caregivers with access to support and resources that strengthen their families; build their confidence, knowledge, and skills; and promote the optimal development of their children,” Grinstead said.

Irmo police, Lexington-Richland District 5, Ready By Five


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