Although Nebraska Children and our early childhood programs can’t be everywhere at once, we’re certainly going to try. When programs like Sixpence come to the classes and families of Winnebago Public Schools, we love to celebrate the community’s success.
For the past five years, Winnebago Public Schools has teamed up with Sixpence. And they have quite a bit of success to show for it. Whereas we don’t deny the difficulties our state and world have undergone, we find these struggles even more reason to celebrate the early childhood programs and people who are doing good.
One of those programs is Sixpence, along with Winnebago Educare, in partnership Winnebago Public Schools. Today, we heard from Brittney Stansberry, the Educare Coordinator. She delivered some wonderful news about the ways Sixpence has helped her students.
As a bit of background, Sixpence is one of the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Early Childhood initiatives. Like all our programs, Sixpence ensures that our state’s infants and toddlers can receive the developmental resources they need to thrive, especially during their crucial early years when their brains and relationships will solidify their life’s success. But don’t take our word for it. Let’s hear from Brittney, who has promising outcomes to share.
“Winnebago Public Schools has been participating with the Sixpence program for over five years. Throughout that time, we’ve noticed multiple successes and [have] overcome challenges,” said Brittney. She added, “Our school and community are grateful for the program.”
Brittney said that Winnebago Public School’s Educare building is the home to Sixpence’s two classrooms and 16 students. The program uses the continuity of care plan to ensure that families and their teachers will thrive together. In addition to using this strategy, Brittney also said that the program pairs teachers with the same student until the child enters preschool.
“This [pairing] has been a huge success for our families, and the child’s education,” said Brittney. Brittney said that having a long-term teacher for the children has been a successful pattern, as one of the classes has had the same teacher since Sixpence and Winnebago School’s partnership began over five years ago.
Brittney said that the benefits she and her colleagues have seen with the teacher’s consistency have promoted families’ comfort, too.
“One of our classrooms has had the same lead teacher since we started the program. This has helped for enrollment, as families are requesting to be in [this teacher’s] classroom because they already know her teaching style,” she said. Brittney said that ae other wins include that parents are at ease with this educator and respond accordingly.
“This [stability in teachers] has helped for enrollment,” she said. “As families are comfortable sharing information with her.”
Brittney said that this positive trend has continued, as one of the current teachers has remained with the same group of children for the past three years. According to Brittney, not only do the families enjoy the safety and intimacy of building relationships with the teachers, but the teachers do, too!
“All of our teachers enjoy being able to have continuity of care, so they can better know the families and have tough conversations when the time arises,” she said.
In addition to establishing stable, mutually growing relationships between families and the teachers, Sixpence has helped the community. Another noteworthy improvement that Brittney mentioned was the program’s assistance in closing the achievement gap.
Brittney said many children enrolled in the Sixpence program enter preschool at or above the expected age-level. For these incoming preschoolers, not only has the school’s success been apparent according to their age-appropriate development but also through their teacher’s observations.
Brittney said that the teachers noticed significant, positive indicators and kindergarten readiness in those students who had enrolled in the Sixpence program. In turn, these children have been nurtured and supported by their equally hardworking teachers who all collaborate with one another.
“Our Sixpence teachers work closely with other infant and toddler teachers and preschool teachers to ensure that students are on-track for entering preschool,” said Brittney.
Brittney said that the teachers implement methods including coaching, data reviews, and continuous assessments to depict any roadblocks and provide supportive tactics to engage families and children.
Finally, Brittney said that Sixpence’s partnership with the local Educational Service Unit (ESU) has also been tremendously helpful, as it allows teachers to detect and prevent students’ potential problems early on.
“Our partnership with the ESU has helped for determining students in need of early intervention services,” she said. “Through ongoing screenings and documentation, teachers work closely with early childhood special education teachers to help students meet new developmental milestones,” said Brittney.
Finally, in addition to tackling developmental setbacks, Brittney said that Sixpence’s teachers’ and interventionists’ skills go beyond the classroom to a place that’s every bit as important: the home.
“The teachers and interventionists work with families to ensure the child has support at school and home,” she said.
Sixpence. We’re in many places, all of which are essential to a child’s early development. We envision every child in Nebraska, especially our littlest ones, thriving!