Starting this fall, children in Nevada’s Carlin community will have the opportunity to attend preschool for the first time. Barrick Gold has partnered with the non-profit agency Communities In Schools (CIS) and Great Basin College, providing financial support for the start of the Carlin Early Childhood Learning Center. The preschool will address a gap in the local education system by offering early childhood education to 20 local children aged three to five, with plans to triple enrolment to 60 children by 2011.
Located in rural Nevada, between Barrick Gold’s Cortez and Goldstrike mines, the community of Carlin does not currently have a licensed preschool program. The project was spearheaded by Communities In Schools, a non-profit agency which offers services such as breakfast and backpack food programs, immunization and early childhood literacy programs. The preschool will be operated by Great Basin College’s Child and Family Center.
Preschools help children prepare for kindergarten and later life, especially those with low social skills and who are unable to speak English. The lack of preschool education leaves children unprepared for primary school and it oft en takes them until grades five or six to catch up.
In a survey, 95 per cent of Carlin residents indicated they would send their child or grandchild to a preschool if one were available. Lynette Macfarlan, an early childhood education professor at the college, related how one struggling single mother was moved to tears when she heard that there was room for both of her children. “I cry all the time, but they’re never tears of happiness,” she said.
Funding or in-kind support is also being provided by the United Way of the Great Basin, Elko Rotary Club, Elko County School District and AmeriCorps Vista, the national service program designed to fight poverty.