Mayor's Coalition for Early Childhood Policy and Education


“Quality education at all stages of life is the best way to break the cycle of poverty, unemployment and crime in our community.” --Mayor Keith Gaskin

High-quality child care, pre-kindergarten programs, and elementary school environments are crucial for preparing children for later school and life success. This coalition was established to confront the many challenges families with young children face in our city. We understand that quality early experiences that support both the child and family benefit both families and our community as a whole. The council will advise the mayor’s office and work collectively to establish programming that strengthens children, families, and our community. This strategic initiative will promote innovative approaches to engage a range of public and private stakeholders to create transformative interventions that meet the needs of our diverse community.


Columbus and Lowndes County have over 5000 children under the age of 5. There are 34 licensed childcare centers with over 200 hardworking early childhood educators.

In Columbus, I strongly believe that we need highly effective teachers and leaders for all early learning programs, positive school climates, and robust additional learning supports for children who are in many cases already behind upon kindergarten entry.

Policy Priorities

1. Promote and build a robust early child care and education workforce in Columbus

2. Promote and invest in quality child care throughout the city

3. Make high-quality pre-k an option for more Columbus families through shared services

4. Leverage modern technology and real-time data to help families locate resources and programming for academic, social, and community-based services

5. Help insure early identification and intervention for developmental delays or disabilities

6. Build synergy among the various pre-k programs in the city and share much needed resources already established


Early Childhood Education Pathway

MUW Child and Parent Development Center Columbus

Columbus-Lowndes County Excel by 5

Columbus-Lowndes Public Library Children's Services

Early Childhood Academy

Lowndes County Imagination Library

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Coleman Head Start Center

Children's Foundation of Mississippi

MSDH Child Care Payment Program Information for Parents