By Gwen Frideres, Shinga Zinga Program Director | Umo’ho’ Nation, Macy, NE
The Sixpence program has made a difference in our center by providing a curriculum foundation and structure to the children’s learning that promotes their growth and development. Other child care centers do not have a curriculum that they follow for activities that include all developmental levels and domains in Early Learning Guidelines. The children’s milestones are recorded with parent input on the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) as well as in the Teaching Strategies Gold database. The Teaching Strategies Gold database report shows the parents their child’s developmental growth through documented observations. This data also helps child care center teachers to design an individual lesson plan specifically for that child. But that’s not all:
Assessment data for parents.
The assessments that are conducted with Munroe-Meyer Institute help parents understand their child’s developmental levels. If a child falls below expectations, the center is able to share this with parents and to share this data with the Early Intervention team to conduct further evaluations, and receive special education services to children who may be at risk so that they can transition out by age 3 and be ready for school.
Partnerships with parents and the community
Now, thanks to Sixpence funding, necessary community resources are shared at parent meetings so they are aware of what services are available to them. The technical support that is provided by the Sixpence team ensures centers to have high-quality programs, facilities, staff and instruction.
Our parents have become our life-long friends and they want their child to attend our program because they know it is high quality that they are not going to receive anywhere else, plus the parents get to see the rate their child is learning and developing. Parents feel open to share with us and to continue to be in contact with us even when their child has transitioned out of our program. This relationship has increased our retention rate, and many parents who are expecting are on our waiting list.
Enhanced educational experience
Our program can now purchase additional resources from Teaching Strategies Gold, like child portfolios to track children from the time they enter center. We transfer this data to Head Start when toddlers transition out of our program. Then this data can be shared with kindergarten teachers so each child’s development is tracked from birth until they enter kindergarten.
We’ve also been able to purchase educational materials and equipment to educate parents on topics associated with becoming a parent and about their child’s growth and development. Some examples include car seat safety, safe sleep practices, CPR and first aid training to name just a few.
Ongoing staff training
The Sixpence funding has supported training and conference opportunities for staff to learn about infant- and toddler- specific teaching to build staff expertise. We have also been able to purchase additional supplies to improve the quality of learning through play, including an expanded outdoor play area.