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Archive for the ‘Family engagement’ Category

 

During the summer months, young children who are homeless benefit from high-quality pre-K programs.

“Universal pre-K has been a gift to many Boston families,” the Boston Herald reports. “But for homeless and poor families, the end of the school year can be a burden that poses a difficult hardship.”

Without summertime pre-K, these children may not have anywhere to go during the day.

Fortunately, the local nonprofit Horizons for Homeless Children offers summertime opportunities.

The Herald tells the story of how one young mother, Itzamarie Torres, and her two sons, have relied on Horizons, saying of Torres:

“The 23-year-old single mom was pregnant and living in a shelter with her toddler son. It was a scary time, but she soon found housing, got a job, moved into an apartment and is now earning her GED at Roxbury Community College.

“She’s grateful for Horizons for Homeless Children, a nonprofit that runs three year-round early education centers in Roxbury, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain, and the stability it gives to her sons, Ayden, 4, and Adrian, 2.

“ ‘It’s wonderful. As a single mom, it’s very helpful,’ said Torres, who is happy the center is open in the summer. ‘I wouldn’t be able to work or go to school or do the things that I am doing now to further myself because I wouldn’t have anybody to watch them.’ ” (more…)

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Sometimes helping children, means helping their parents.

That’s what Roca, Inc., does. A nonprofit organization founded in Chelsea in 1988, Roca disrupts “the cycle of incarceration and poverty.”

Its approach? Relentless outreach.

That used to include a home-visiting program. But in 2012, Roca decided to take a more intensive approach with young moms who, its website says, are “not ready, willing and able to participate in work, school and traditional parenting and home visiting programs.”

“They have a history of intergeneration trauma,” Sunindiya Bhalla says of these mothers. “They have high ACES,” adverse childhood experiences, “and their children have high ACES.” Bhalla is Roca’s chief of 2Gen Strategy & Programming.

The Moms and children that Roca helps may be dealing with violence, trauma, gang involvement, or drug and alcohol use. Some have dropped out of high school. Some have limited English skills or no work history. Often, Bhalla says, no one is teaching these mothers how to be parents. (more…)

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Sally Fuller

Contrary to what you may have heard, Sally Fuller has not completely retired.

Strategies for Children is excited to announce that Fuller, a long-time colleague and friend, has joined our board.

“I have such tremendous respect for what Strategies has done and continues to do,” Fuller told us recently.

As we’ve blogged before, Fuller worked for the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, where she started in 2005 as the project direct for Cherish Every Child, the foundation’s early childhood initiative.

“The Davis family cares deeply about education. That’s their overarching commitment,” Fuller explains. “They knew Margaret Blood,” the founder of Strategies for Children, “and they brought Margaret to Springfield to work with them.”

The Davis Foundation came to sum up its intentions in a single question, Fuller says: “How can we work together to put children at the center of the community’s agenda?”

“That’s how the Cherish Every Child initiative was started at the foundation, and they needed someone to work full time, so that’s why I went there.”

Fuller, the foundation, and community partners across Springfield worked on expanding early education opportunities and on ensuring that more of the city’s children could read proficiently by the third grade.

“We know from a childhood development standpoint how critical that was,” Fuller says of herself and John Davis (a senior director at the foundation), who had looked at the data and seen that only one third of Springfield’s children could read at grade level by the end of third grade. “We started to do this before it became fashionable. The National Campaign for Grade Level Reading started a year after we did. So, I can very honestly say that we were building the plane as we were flying it.” (more…)

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Why change an organization’s name?

To better share its impact.

That’s why the Parent-Child Home Program has changed its name to ParentChild+.

“People often focused on only one aspect of what we do, early literacy. But our staff, participating families, and program communities know we are so much more,” Sarah Walzer, CEO of ParentChild,+ says of the name change, which was made in April.

The bigger picture is that the organization “uses education to break the cycle of poverty for low-income families. We engage early in life and help toddlers, their parents, and their family child care providers access a path to possibility,” according to its website.

Walzer notes, “Our wonderful network of partners across the country and around the world have engaged with tens of thousands of children and families, working together to transform their lives.” (more…)

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Preschool programs are often in classrooms, except when they’re not.

In Worcester, Mass., children enrolled in Head Start go beyond the classroom to the Worcester Art Museum, where they make art, and where that art is part of an exhibit — “World of Provocation: Making Learning Visible” – that closes tomorrow. (more…)

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Presentation begins at the 10:40 time mark.

 

California has a brand new plan for early childhood education.

It has arrived in the nick of time, with sweeping changes that will benefit children and families, and with lessons for Massachusetts and other states.

“Few would argue that California’s child care system is in need of major reform,” public radio station KQED reports. “Today, a whopping 77% of children statewide lack access to a licensed child care program, and many of those who teach and care for the state’s youngest are making marginally above minimum wage.

“The system is currently ‘at a crisis level,’ according to Michael Olenick, head of the Los Angeles-based Child Care Resource Center. Yet he’s hopeful that things will improve. Olenick just finished participating in a state Assembly blue-ribbon commission, which released a report on Monday suggesting major improvements to the state’s early childhood education system.”

This report, from the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education, draws on two years of hearings, meetings, and focus groups. (more…)

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Award winners.

 

Parents are a powerful part of education. They help their own children. They volunteer and help other people’s children. And earlier this month, parents who are connected to the Head Start and Child Services programs at the Boston, anti-poverty agency ABCD, got a celebratory nod of recognition at a Parent Training & Recognition Breakfast.

The event’s keynote speaker was Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All campaign here at Strategies for Children.

“Parents can change the world,” Amy says, “and that’s why engaging them in their children’s education is so important.”

“Research has shown that when parents are engaged in their children’s lives and education it benefits both parent and child now and in the long term,” according to an excerpt from ABCD’s parent handbook. “Based on this rich body of research, we know that we need an ongoing commitment from parents and families in each of our centers.”

In her keynote speech, Amy encouraged parents to make their voices heard.

Her message: “WE Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For.” Parents can become leaders in early education and care. (more…)

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