Smart Start shows off STEM Center benefits


ELIZABETHTOWN — Engaging children as young as possible is one of the goals of Bladen County Smart Start.

According to Smart Start Board Member and Elizabethtown Rotarian Darryl Page, Smart Start began in 1994 in Bladen County after a group got together and started a Smart Start Committee because they realized the importance of a center offering education opportunities to children less than 5 years of age.

Now, the Bladen County Smart Start offers a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Center.

Ingrid Johnson and Bernetra Richardson from the Smart Start Center showcased items the STEM Center offers our local children and their parents at this past week’s Elizabethtown Rotary meeting. According to Ingrid, the STEM Center is located upstairs in the Bladen Smart Start office.

She said, “The idea of STEM is to integrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics into children’s learning at the earliest ages.”

The two representatives passed around different interactive toys they offer the members in the center at the meeting.

Bernetra said, “Parents are the leaders in the STEM Center. They can stay as long as they would like to lead their children in playing with activities engaging them in learning the ideas of STEM.”

According the both ladies, as long as you have a child 0 to 5 years of age you can have a membership at Smart Start. The memberships are also available to grandparents, aunts, uncles and others with children in the age range. The membership fee is $5 per family.

The center is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and no reservation is needed. To find out more visit the Bladen Smart Start Center at 228B W. Broad St. in Elizabethtown.

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