New Sixpence grants awarded to 8 Nebraska communities.

Sixpence Early Learning Fund - nebraska early childhood education

The Sixpence Early Learning Fund awarded its latest round of grants last week to 8 Nebraska early childhood education projects. The grant awards will benefit nearly 150 at-risk babies and toddlers.

Now, Sixpence programs are serving a total of approximately 500 babies and toddlers in 25 communities statewide and their families. The children and families served experience risk factors commonly associated with failure in school and life. These risk factors include families of low income, low birth weight or premature birth, teenaged parents, parents lacking a high-school diploma, incarcerated parents, and households where English is not spoken as the primary language.

The Sixpence program is designed to meet the developmental needs of at-risk children, from birth to age three through high-quality early childhood education environments. A key strategy to meet this goal is to support the parent as the child’s first and most important teacher.

Map showing Sixpence grantee sites across Nebraska. The most recent round of grants puts the total of sites at 25.

Map showing Sixpence grantee sites across Nebraska. The most recent round of grants puts the total of sites at 25.

New grants were awarded to:

  • Aurora Public Schools for a new family engagement  program using the Parents as Teachers curriculum
  •  Central City Public Schools for a new family engagement  program through a partnership with the Central Nebraska Community Action Program that uses the Parents as Teachers curriculum
  •  Falls City Public Schools for a new family engagement  program through a partnership with Southeast Nebraska Community Action that uses the Parents as Teachers curriculum
  •  Grand Island Public Schools for a new family engagement  program through a partnership with Head Start CFPD, Inc. that uses the Parents as Teachers Curriculum
  •  Humboldt Table Rock Steinauer Public Schools for a new family engagement  program through a partnership with Southeast Nebraska Community Action Program that uses the Parents as Teachers curriculum
  •  Kearney Public Schools for a new family engagement program using the Early Steps for School Success model. Kearney already has a center-based Sixpence site.
  •  Ord Public Schools for a new family engagement program through the Central Nebraska Community Action Program that uses the Parents as Teachers curriculum
  •  St. Paul Public Schools for a new family engagement program through the Central Nebraska Community Action Program that uses the Parents as Teachers curriculum

Why Sixpence works

One of the basic principles of Sixpence is that the parent is the child’s first and most important teacher. We know that kids make the most significant social, emotional and cognitive gains when parents are meaningfully involved as educators whether children are being cared for at home, or in an out-of-home setting.  That’s why Sixpence programs are designed with the family at their center.

Sixpence home visitors conduct a minimum of three hour-long visits with families each month. These in-home visits provide an opportunity for intensive, one-on-one coaching with parents and are proven to dramatically improve parent-child interaction and relationships.

Here’s the proof

Each year, the outcomes of Nebraska’s Sixpence programs are measured by an independent third-party evaluator associated with the University of Nebraska’s Munroe-Meyer Institute. Here are the program’s most recent results:

Children’s outcomes

  • Language/Vocabulary: 86% of children met or exceeded age appropriate skill level. Sixpence toddlers demonstrated significant gains in vocabulary skills with the majority meeting age-level expectations.
  • Social/Emotional: 95% of children met or exceeded age-appropriate skill level. Participation in Sixpence resulted in significant improvements in social-emotional protective factors.
  • Cognition: 96% of children met or exceeded age-appropriate skill level.
  • Fine motor: 96% of children met or exceeded age-appropriate skill level.
  • Literacy: 85% of children met or exceeded age-appropriate skill level.
  • Math: 78% of children met or exceeded age-appropriate skill level.
  • Health: Nearly all of the children enrolled in Sixpence met health and safety standards such as appropriate car seats, well child visits, having a medical home, up-to-date immunizations. All Sixpence scores in these areas were significantly above the state average.

Parent outcomes

  • Prenatal care: All pregnant Sixpence mothers received consistent prenatal care (compared to 75% of other Nebraska mothers), and the vast majority carried to full term, abstained from risk behaviors and initiated breast feeding.
  • Parenting skills: Sixpence families demonstrated adequate parent-child interaction skills. What’s more, families demonstrated higher quality interactions with their children the longer they were in Sixpence. These skills included:
    – Building relationships
    – Promoting learning
    – Supporting confidence

Program outcomes

  • Center quality: Sixpence centers scored in the highest range on the Infant/Toddler Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R) or the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)
  • Family engagement quality: Sixpence centers scored a 4.55 out of 5 on Parent-Child Engagement and a 4.15 out of 5on Home Visit Instruction on the Home Visit Rating Scales-A (HoVRS-A).

Grant history

Sixpence programs are funded by a blend of public and private dollars.  Communities are asked to provide a local match from existing state, federal, and local dollars. This unique public-private partnership provided 11 community grants in 2008. In July 2013, 6 new programs were added, and 5 of the original grantees received funds to expand their programs and serve more children. This latest round of grants added 8 new programs, bringing the total Sixpence sites in Nebraska to 25.

Learn more about Sixpence now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's most vulnerable kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

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Posted in Early Childhood

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