To Infinity – Or Kindergarten, and Beyond: Sixpence’s History
Consider the Sixpence coin. It has gone through many iterations, has been constructed from many different materials, and has symbolized many different things, among them, prosperity.
Traditionally, the Sixpence coin was placed in a bride’s shoe to ensure her luck, abundance, and joy. For the Royal Air Force, the Sixpence coin symbolized a good luck charm. In the U.K., the Sixpence piece was folded into pudding and stirred by the whole family. The person lucky enough to unearth the Sixpence in his or her serving was said to be blessed with good fortune.
Of course, the reality isn’t always as simple. As wonderful as it would be to stir a pot for good luck, there’s quite a bit more effort involved in helping families thrive, especially when risk factors play a role.
Whereas some families may endure more difficult circumstances than others, and luck may play a role, at the end of the day, we all need support. Parenting is no different, and the Sixpence program through Nebraska Children and Families Foundation recognizes this. We believe that everyone should thrive, and we are here to help. Thanks to the support of public-private partners, Sixpence has continued to serve our state’s most vulnerable infants and toddlers during their crucial early years. Much like the coin, Sixpence evolves and redesigns itself to support families’ needs. So, let’s share a bit of Sixpence’s history.
Established in 2006, the Sixpence Early Learning Fund supports infants and toddlers to ensure that they’re developmentally ready for kindergarten. Sixpence administers three types of grants: Center-base care, family engagement home-based services, and a combination of family engagement and center-based care. Each program or grantee is designed around their community to support the families, providers, and children during their first three years when they are developing some of the most important connections in their life and their brain.
This public-private partnership combines funds, resources, and talent to deliver to early childhood programs, providers, and families. The efforts provide children from birth through age three with the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
Sealing the Deal: How Sixpence Delivers Value
Nebraska state agencies and private philanthropic organizations then formed an endowment. The funds from this endowment support quality, ongoing, and engaging experiences for Nebraska’s young, vulnerable children.
After eligible applicants apply for a Sixpence grant, a governor-appointed Board of Trustees then choose the recipients through a selective grant process. Nebraska Children manages the administrative process and supports the initiative’s quality.
Sixpence will then connect families with home visitors. These are highly skilled early childhood professionals who are trained to detect, assess, and assist with young children’s developmental challenges. Meanwhile, the home visitor encourages that the parents do the same through a series of developmentally engaging, age-appropriate activities. Since a parent is a child’s first and most impactful teacher, home visitors go out of their way to support parents in becoming a stimulating and quality educator who provides thorough parent-child interactions.
Today, we’ll speak to Rebecca, Troy, and Daniel Swindell of York, Nebraska to hear all about their Sixpence home visits!
What community is your Sixpence program?
How long have you been in the program? How old is your child?
Going on year 2 soon. Our son is 1 ½ years old (already)
How has the Sixpence program supported you?
It has provided unmatched support for my household. We were new to the area and didn’t have a clue on what to do with ourselves, much less another littler person that was fully dependent on us! Every question we asked has been answered with not only a knowledgeable and well-informed answer, but most of the time, tips and ideas and tricks to help with whatever the issue at hand is.
What do you like about home visitation? What are the benefits you have seen for your family and your child’s development?
I very much value home visitation for a few reasons. Mainly, I have severe anxiety. I do not like being in public settings and even though I am able to handle it well on the outside, internally is a different matter!
When our home visitor comes to the house, it allows me to relax more and to fully absorb the information given. I have noticed more involvement and less hesitancy coming from my husband towards our son, as well as an exponential growth of knowledge in myself on topics I knew very little about. I have been able to share this information with my friends as well, and I’ve been able to help them from time to time.
As far as my child’s development, I feel that he is very responsive and eager to learn, versus some of the other kids we have him around. It makes me pleased to know that he is on track and this program helps to provide a solid and firm footpath to follow.
What are your key takeaways from your time in Sixpence?
My key takeaway to put it simply would be that it does take a village to raise a child, but because of that village, the child is nurtured and will thrive.