First Steps takes a holistic approach to accomplishing its mission of ensuring that all children start school ready to reach their highest potential. We offer services that improve children’s health, strengthen families, expand access to quality early care and education, increase participation in four-year-old kindergarten programs, and help transition rising kindergartners into school.

Programs > School Transition
Evidence Informed

Countdown to Kindergarten

Countdown to Kindergarten supports transitions into kindergarten by connecting incoming students, their families, and their teachers in a series of one-on-one sessions during the summer.

  • Families with preschool-aged children (3-5).

  • In-home coaching with trained parent educators.

  • A focus on language and literacy development.

  • Learning experiences for early childhood professionals.

Programs > Parenting
Evidence Based

Parents as Teachers

Home visitation and group support for families, before birth and through age five.

  • Families with babies and toddlers (0-3).

  • Pregnant moms and expectant families.

  • In-home coaching with trained parent educators.

  • Community-based workshops and classes.

Programs > Parenting
Evidence Informed

Raising a Reader

Raising a Reader operates in 3,000 locations across the nation.

  • Families with babies and toddlers (0-3).

  • Families with preschool-aged children (3-5).

  • A focus on language and literacy development.

Programs > Early Care & Education
Evidence Based

Quality Enhancement

Intensive support to child care centers, Head Start and preschool classrooms to improve quality.

  • Opportunities for early childhood teachers, paraprofessionals, and program directors.

  • Learning experiences for early childhood professionals.

First Steps 4K

First Steps 4K offers free, full-day four-year-old kindergarten to qualifying children in South Carolina. We partner with more than 270 licensed child care centers and private schools across the state, making it easy for families to find a high-quality program that meets their needs.

  • Opportunities for early childhood teachers, paraprofessionals, and program directors.

  • Learning experiences for early childhood professionals.