In the Panhandle, preschool families who will be transitioning to Kindergarten at Chadron Public Schools are receiving some extra support through a pilot of the FAST program (Families and School Together).
On April 14, 2014, Chadron completed their second cycle of FAST, graduating 18 families from the program. These families reported improvement in their family relationships, relationships with their children, parental involvement in the school and social support.
FAST is an evidence-based series of eight family classes that included a shared meal, non-directed play, coaching of parents and parent groups. The program generated several positive outcomes, including improved attendance, learning, school behavior and protective factors.
FAST program goals:
- Enhanced family functioning
- Prevention of school failure
- Prevention of child abuse and neglect
- Prevention of substance abuse by the child and family
- Reduced stress for parents and children from daily life situations
One child’s story.
For one young child in particular, FAST helped her to become more engaged and confident at school. Throughout preschool she had been shy and reserved. Her parents were concerned that this behavior would continue and it would hinder her Kindergarten success.
Her family signed up for FAST in February and as the weeks went on, her teacher noticed a positive change. She was talking and interacting more. She even shared during circle time in front of the entire class. Academically, she went from knowing only a few letters at the beginning of the year to knowing ALL of her letters and sounds and starting to read simple words.
Her teacher said, “She built so much confidence in just the last few months of preschool. FAST had a lot to do with her growth. I am confident that she is more than ready to have a positive, successful year in kindergarten!”