Early Childhood Programs and Development and Nebraska: Seeds of Well-Being Sown Early
There’s nothing that highlights community engagement quite like success stories. Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is an organization that envisions a state where all children, young people, and families thrive. We value not only research, but personal experiences from real members of our early childhood community, especially caregivers and educators.
We envision not only a thriving Nebraska, but one supportive effort that begins early in children’s lives to set them up for future success. To say that early childhood development and education is important is an understatement.
The first three years of a child’s life are critical to his or her later life success, which means caregiver relationships, early childhood program quality, and peer interactions are integral.
How do we promote excellence throughout our early childcare programs so that all children can thrive? Sixpence Child Care Partnerships, the public-school system, and local family and in-home childcare providers and centers are an effective collaboration to leverage early childhood programs’ overall quality.
Here’s a bit of background: Sixpence Child Care Partnerships are a Nebraska Children Early Childhood initiative whose goal is to support children on their pathway to thriving. This early childhood development and educational program draws from Federal Child Care Development Funds (CCDF) by way of the DHHS to drive high-quality early childhood development and education throughout Nebraska.
Today, we asked Stoney Straatmann, a licensed childcare provider and one of Sixpence Child Care Partnership Programs (Sixpence CCP) from Hastings, Nebraska, to talk about her experiences and benefits of the partnership.
Before we speak with Stoney, we’d like to explain how Sixpence and its Child Care Partnerships work together.
Growing Up and Growing the Good Life: Background on Sixpence Child Care Partnerships
Sixpence Child Care Partnerships (Sixpence CCP) entail a collaboration between school districts and early childhood programs that provide care for infants and toddlers up to age three. This program’s main objective is to increase the quality of our state’s early childhood programs.
Sixpence CCP’s benefits include classes, training, and one-on-one coaching with a certified teacher. The coaching includes on-site support three to four times a month and shared learning meetings that bring together all the community’s childcare providers.
In addition, Sixpence CCP provides support so that early childhood providers and educators may enroll in the Nebraska Department of Education’s Step Up to Quality. This program’s purpose is to encourage early childhood directors and educators to execute and sustain high-quality childcare.
When we share early childhood programs’ successes, however, we’d also like to provide data, too. Recent statistics (pictured below) show that Sixpence CCP has helped to contribute successful outcomes for providers throughout our communities. This recent information below is from the 2018-2019 Sixpence Annual Report: Access here.
Sixpence CCP has long rallied to support early childcare facilities and their providers. Program participants gain knowledge and support through attending classes for the childcare providers and their staff and enhancing their facility with transformative funds. These grants have assisted childcare providers in Auburn and Falls City with everything from updated playgrounds to libraries.
Hastings Public Schools’ Sixpence Child Care Partnerships continue to be effective. According to Stoney Straatmann, a licensed childcare provider, this early childhood partnership has supported her in myriad ways. From providing her with a coach-turned-friend, to enhancing her facility with new, age-appropriate toys, to contributing to her overall well-being, Stoney’s success story touches minds and hearts.
What is the name of your center or program?
Stoney’s Home Daycare
What community is your Sixpence CCP program?
What Step were you at when you began the program? (In Step Up to Quality)
I began at Step 1 in 2018 and am currently at Step 5!*
What Step are you currently at?
How has the Sixpence CCP program supported you?
They provided me with a coach and a friend. Wendy listens to me and my ideas. She has inside knowledge to help me make my [childcare] more complete. I have been building my [childcare] since 2007, and I have hit brick walls left and right with trying to be where I want to be. Wendy was able to guide me to my goals and even exceed them without me taking more time and money from my family! She helped me become a Step 5 in Step Up to Quality with ease.
What do you like about the Sixpence CCP program?
It provided me more time for my family and me, without me feeling like I am neglecting my childcare kiddos and families.
- A curriculum helps me not spend numerous hours planning and prepping.
- Ages and Stages Questionnaires help me keep up on developmental milestones for kiddos.
- [Wendy] helps find resources online, books, or in-person. She doesn’t just point me in a direction and leave me alone to figure it out; she always follows up.
- Financial assistance-developmentally appropriate toys and supplies for the kiddos that are not broken or old hand-me-downs. More nature and “open-ended” toys that the kids can discover new ways to play.
What are the benefits you have seen for your program?
- There is less stress on me, which gives me more energy and happier days.
- We have more resources, so more ways to help kiddos and myself.
- My [child]care’s appearance is more put-together and complete, so I feel at ease, and I can focus on kiddos.
- The families are more connected and have given more input. We have had a few events together, and we all stay connected and communicate well.
What are your key takeaways from your time with Sixpence CCP?
Sixpence CCP has boosted my confidence and my ego! Dreams can come true and can even be more than I imagined. Also, I love that my [childcare] families feel more like “family” than before! I thought they were family, BUT we seem closer now after this whole process.
Note from Wendy, Stoney’s Coach – When Stoney’s families learned that she had reached Step 5 for Step Up to Quality, they organized a surprise picnic at the park (pre-pandemic) for her with all her families attending!
*Stoney’s accomplishment of moving from Step 1 to 5 within two years is truly impressive, thanks to her hard work and her coach’s support!