United Way invests more the $650,000 in intitatives to prepare children to succeed when they enter Kindergarten.
Readiness of our children to succeed in school depends on the adults who are with the children each day. With this big picture in mind, key United Way partners and volunteers stakeholders have identifiedand implemented five common sense initiatives.
- Parents as Teachers- Nationally proven program of home visits by Family Services of Greater Houston trained Kindergarten readiness specialists who coach caregiver (parent, grandparent, other,) provide the necessary skills to parents to stimulate their children's readiness to learn before they enter school. They also conduct monthly parent-and-tot group meetings, reaching more than 100 children.
- Quality Improvement for Early Chilhood Centers- At five early childhood centers serving about 350 children, Collaborative for Children mentors and coaches directors, develops and trains teachers, implements classroom action plans, provides curriculum ressources, and more- all to help the directors and teachers be more successful with children.
- Professional Development Opportunities- Boosted by collaboration with United Way and other partners including Lee College, the Baytown Early Educators, a group of directors and teachers dedicated to sharing best practices and training, has seen its membership more than double within the last few years. In addition, Lee College restarted its early childhood education instructional program. Collaborative for Children, as part of its quality improvement work, conducts training meetings open to all early childhood centers.
- Parent Workshops- Skilled volunteers with early childhood education background present evening workshops to caregivers. In small groups, these volunteers demonstrate to parents how to use the contents of take-home kits full of tools, tips and toys for effective early childhood development. About 300 adults were reached in 2013. The workshops are conducted in both English and Spanish.
- Born Learning Trail- This trail consists of 10 interactive stations installed along the walking trail at N.C. Foote Park in Baytown. At each station the adult reads prompts on a sign to encourage aspects of development on the part of the pre-school child-- from engaging the child's imagination, to physical activity, to learning the difference between shapes and colors painted on sidewalk, to listen and describing sounds. This trail is presented in both English and Spanish.
For more information on the work United Way of Greater Baytown Area & Chambers County is doing with Kindergarten Readiness call (281) 424-5922