Harrison County

Coast kids go down the rabbit hole into a world of learning

Saturday was the time for many South Mississippi children to talk of may things — shoes and ships and sealing wax and even cabbages and kings.

Biloxi Excel By 5 was one of the sponsors of “Trip to Wonderland” at Lopez Elementary School. The experience was based on the works of Lewis Carroll and his famous book “Alice in Wonderland.” Other partners for the series were the city of Biloxi, Biloxi public schools, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino and IP Casino Resort.

Excel By 5 is an early-learning initiative that wants to have children prepared for school by age 5.

For 4-year-old Sarah Hill of Gulfport, Saturday’s trip down the proverbial rabbit hole was the latest in a series of Excel By 5 events.

“I love coming here,” she said. “They are always fun.”

Sarah, the daughter of Clay and Heather Hill, said she is also a fan of Carroll’s title character.

“I like Alice the best,” she said. “She’s my favorite — my favorite thing I did today was make a hat like the Mad Hatter’s.”

The Hill family recently moved to Gulfport from North Mississippi. Heather Hill said Excel By 5 has provided her daughter with a fun way to learn.

“We go to Excel By 5 programs at least twice a week,” she said. “Sarah gets to play and there have a great ‘teaching tots’ program that prepares her for kindergarten.”

She said she has seen noticeable progress since Sarah started the program.

“She’s learning to read and I think they’ve helped a lot with that,” she said. “She knows her ABCs and she’s learning to write. It’s good for her to learn these thing from someone besides Mom and Dad.”