Volunteer to help children Blast Off to Kindergarten!

by Administrator 19. February 2015 16:34

In our ongoing effort to ensure that children in Durham County are prepared for success in school, Durham's Partnership for Children, in collaboration with Durham Public Schools, is hosting a series of events this spring and summer as part of the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative

Transition Teams have been created this year in 5 elementary schools: E.K. Powe Elementary, Forest View Elementary, Glenn Elementary, Lakewood Elementary and Y.E. Smith Elementary. The transition teams are comprised of teachers, parents and school administrators, all with the common goal of wanting to make kindergarten an exciting and welcoming place for new students and families in their community.

Children who will be entering Kindergarten in August will attend the events with their families. Participants will learn how to register for kindergarten, meet the school staff, tour the school, and meet future classmates.

     

We are in need of volunteers to help at these events, and we know you'll have a great time meeting the children and families and helping them make a smooth transition during this important time! Please click here to view the volunteer opportunities for the Blast Off to Kindergarten Events, and be on the lookout for more opportunities over the next few months.

You can view a list of all of the upcoming Transition to Kindergarten events here. Please contact Wren Davisson (wren@dpfc.net, 919.403.6960 ext. 224) if you'd like to learn more about our Transition to Kindergarten Initiative. 

Early Childhood Bus Tour shows impact throughout the community

by Administrator 13. February 2015 14:53

Last week, the Partnership hosted community leaders and volunteers for another Early Childhood Bus Tour. This event, sponsored by Mechanics and Farmers Bank, is a way for us to invite participants to learn more about our work throughout Durham and view the community through the lens of early childhood. 

We kicked off the event by asking attendees to build Blast-Off to Kindergarten Kits, which is a key part of the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative and one of many volunteer opportunities here at the Partnership. The Bus Tour seemed particulary timely since that morning's paper featured a front page story about the benefits of early education! After introductions and kit-building, attendees joined us as we traveled to Child Care Services Association (CCSA), Bethesda Baptist Child Care Center, and Leathers-Meachem Head Start.

     

The first stop on the tour was just across the hall from us, at CCSA. We split into two groups to hear more about two of the programs at CCSA that receive Smart Start funding. In one room, attendees heard about the Child Care Referral Program and learned how parents get assistance in finding and choosing a high-quality child care program to best fit their needs. In the other room, representatives from the Smart Start Scholarship Program discussed how the funding assists parents who are working or in school pay for child care. Attendees also heard a moving parent testimony from a single mother who was able to continue working knowing that her two children were receiving the highest quality care, all thanks to the Scholarship program.

     

The next stop on the tour was Bethesda Baptist Child Care Center, where participants learned about Early Childhood Outreach (EChO), a program that is based out of the Exchange Family Center and is another one of our funded partners. EChO services provide support for children with challenging behavior, through both individual work with children and teacher coaching and assistance. Attendees also heard from a teacher who has received EChO coaching, and she made it clear that her teaching style, classroom, students and whole school has benefitted immensely from working with EChO.

     

Our final stop was the Leathers-Meachem Head Start center, one of our community partners in the NC Pre-K program. Participants heard from Derric Boston, Health Manager at Durham Head Start, about how Head Start services support families with young children. They also learned about one of our Smart Start-funded programs that supports professional development for early childhood educators. The WAGE$ program, part of CCSA, provides financial assistance, incentivizes pursuing further education, and reduces teacher turnover. Tashika Harris, a teacher at Leathers-Meachem and a participant in the WAGE$ program, spoke about how the program has impacted her life and career. Last but not least, attendees then had an opportunity to observe a couple of NC Pre-K classrooms to see some enthusiastic 4-year-olds in action!

     

All participants left the bus tour with a deeper understanding of the scope of the Partnership’s work, as well as the need for community-wide commitment and efforts to ensure that every child in Durham enters school healthy and ready to succeed. One way you can join this work is to become even more informed, involved and invested! Sign up for our email list for news and advocacy alerts, subscribe to this blog, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, join us on a future bus tour, and check back often for information about upcoming activities and volunteer opportunities at the Partnership. 

Take action this week to "Invest In Us"

by Administrator 11. February 2015 13:08

There are several opportunities this week to take action and make your voice heard in support of young children and early education programs. 

Save the Children Home Visiting Action

Tonight, February 11th, join Save the Children and actress Jennifer Garner at 8 p.m. ET for an online event to bring awareness to critical home visiting programs and their effect on breaking the cycle of poverty. The event will screen a segment of the PBS Independent Lens documentary "A Path Appears," featuring Save the Children’s home visiting program in West Virginia. Following the segment, there will be a Q&A with Jennifer Garner and a discussion on the fight to protect funding for these crucial home visiting programs. Register for the event today, and watch and share Jennifer Garner’s Invest in US PSA which highlights the impact home visiting programs have on strengthening families and laying the foundation for children’s success.

NWLC Valentine’s Day of Action

Tomorrow, February 12th, join the National Women’s Law Center for a Child Care Twitter Storm from 2-3 p.m. ET. Help urge lawmakers to support young hearts and minds through child care investments by posting tweets and using the hashtag #investinus. This is an important effort to ensure that Congress understands the need for new funding to successfully implement the new Child Care and Development Block Grant reauthorization law.

We hope you will join us in raising awareness. Thank you for your help in preparing Durham’s children to succeed!

Show our state leaders a little love on Valentine's Day!

by Administrator 5. February 2015 15:12

Our state leaders have gathered in Raleigh and are hard at work making difficult choices about how to best ensure that North Carolina is a state of opportunity and success. Valentine's Day is the perfect time to remind them that making sure children get a strong start in life is a top priority for the state! 

It's easy!

Put on your creative cap, get out the paper, markers, crayons and glitter and make some beautiful Valentines with messages of hope and dreams for our children. Get your children, family, friends and colleagues in on the action.  

Just follow these easy steps:

Step 1: Create your own valentine, or download the Valentine template and print copies for yourself and others!

Step 2: Assemble your supplies and your group and get decorating!

Step 3: Include your own Valentine message about why early education is important to you. Here are some ideas:

  • Support young minds & hearts: Invest in child care
  • Every child deserves early education opportunities
  • The First 2000 Days matter the most in a child’s life
  • Families can work when they have quality child care
  • Children are counting on you to be their champion
  • Quality child care matters
  • Early education is a solid investment
  • Young children are 100% of our future

  • Step 4:
    Send your valentines!  Here are two ways to deliver your Valentines: 

    • Mail your valentines directly to your own state legislator. Click here if you need more information about who represents you.
    • Scan or take a picture and email them to Beth@MomsRising.org.  Send by Feb. 9th to ensure your Valentine is delivered on time. 

    This Valentine’s Day, let state policymakers know you care about early care and education and encourage them to show their support during this legislative session. Thanks for all you do for young children and families, and early education in North Carolina!

    New study finds that early childhood programs save money

    by Administrator 4. February 2015 10:01

    By Jane Stancill, excerpt from the News & Observer, Feb. 3, 2015.

    Children enrolled in North Carolina’s state-supported early education programs have a reduced chance of being placed in special education by third grade, Duke University researchers say.

    The findings suggest that state investment in quality early childhood programs can prevent costly special education later. The researchers, Clara Muschkin, Helen Ladd and Kenneth Dodge, analyzed data about North Carolina special education placement and children’s access to two early childhood programs – NC Pre-K, which provides preschool for at-risk 4-year-olds, and Smart Start, which provides child health and family services to children from birth to age 5. The study covered the period from 1995 to 2010.

    Access to the state’s prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds reduced the likelihood of third-grade special education placements by 32 percent, and access to Smart Start reduced the odds by 10 percent. Researchers saw a 39 percent reduction in special education placements following both early childhood programs.

    Muschkin said the results are “yet another incentive” for policymakers to extend early education to children to avoid spending more on special education down the road. “It costs about twice as much to educate a child in third grade who receives special education services,” Muschkin said.

    The state’s NC Pre-K program has been the subject of political wrangling in recent years. The state has established prekindergarten for poor children as a way to ensure that all children in the state have access to a sound, basic education. But not all poor children in the state have access to the state Pre-K program. By one estimate, about 67,000 4-year-olds would qualify. The number of available slots has varied with the state’s funding year to year. 

    In the Duke study, researchers found that the prekindergarten program cut down on the number of children with preventable disabilities, including attention disorders and mild mental disabilities. Smart Start, researchers said, helped reduce children classified as having a learning disability, which accounts for almost 40 percent of placements in special education.

    The study implied that even children who were not funded for an NC Pre-K slot benefited from being in the same classroom as others who received education according to the program’s high standards.

    “It certainly would be a really cost-effective investment to increase access to the early childhood program,” Muschkin said. “We certainly aren’t reaching all the children who may come to school with disadvantages and all the children whose special needs might be taken care of early on and save the school system from having to provide services.”

    Click here to read the full article.

    Click here to learn more about NC Pre-K in Durham

    Click here to view our 2013-14 evalution report infographics for more information on the impact of early childhood programs in Durham.

    NC Pre-K application process kicks off today

    by Administrator 2. February 2015 10:19

    The Universal Pre-Kindergarten application period for the 2015-2016 school year opens today and lasts until April 10th. This collaborative effort led by the Partnership is designed to reach 4-year-olds in Durham, and the following community partners play an instrumental role in this effort: Child Care Services Association, Durham Public Schools, Durham Head Start, and the Department of Social Services.

    Your child might qualify to participate in 2015-2016 Durham County NC Pre-K if:

    • Your child is not currently enrolled in a preschool program 
    • Your child turns 4 years by August 31, 2015
    • Your child has health concerns or special needs 
    • Your family qualifies for financial assistance 
    • English is your child's second language

    There are 3 ways to apply:

    • You may call 919-314-6813 to set an appointment time between February 2 and April 10, 2015. 
    • Visit a Durham Head Start office beginning February 2, 2015. Family Counselors will be available to assist parents in filling out the application (offices are closed Feb. 11, Feb. 27, and March 27-April 3)
      • 215 Seminary Ave. (across from McDonald's and the YMCA), phone: 919-688-5541
      • 908 Liberty St. (Leathers Meachem), phone: 919-536-5560
    • Apply online. The application is available online this year and may be filled out prior to your appointment. Click here to download the application.

    Please visit our website for more information and application materials, including a list of required documents needed from parents. Applications will not be processed without necessary documentation.

    For more information about financial assistance for Child Care, contact Child Care Services Association at 919-403-6950 or visit www.childcareservices.org, or contact Durham County Social Services at 919-560-8300 or visit Durham County Social Services.

    Durham County’s NC Pre-K program is a community-based voluntary program that provides high-quality early educational experiences to prepare 4-year-olds for kindergarten. The NC Pre-K program operates in private class rooms, Durham Public Schools and Durham Head Start centers.

    Infographic: Mobilizing Community Partners

    by Administrator 30. January 2015 12:09

    Our final infographic focuses on how we mobilize our community partners in Durham. As the convener and facilitator of Durham’s early childhood system, it is our job to lead community strategies that respond to the needs of all 23,000 young children in Durham. In order to do so, we invest in and work alongside high-quality early childhood programs with many collaborative partners, and we also engage the broader community through education, trainings, volunteer opportunities, advocacy and other outreach.

     

    Click here to view a larger image.

    Other infographics:

    Increasing access to child care

    Improving the quality of child care

    Supporting families

    Infographic: Supporting Families

    by Administrator 29. January 2015 11:16

    Today's infographic showcases our work to support families in Durham. A parent is a child's first and best teacher, and parenting style and the home learning environment are important predictors of school readiness in young children. Through home visiting services, parent education and a variety of other programs, we empower parents to promote their children's learning and development so that they are healthy and ready for school.

     

    Click here to view a larger image.

    Other infographics:

    Increasing access to child care

    Improving the quality of child care

    Infographic: Improving the Quality of Child Care

    by Administrator 28. January 2015 11:17

    We continue our series of evaluation infographics today with a report on improving the quality of child care in Durham. Research shows that the quality of a child care program has a huge impact on children's development, but child care programs need resources, technical assistance and professional development to consistently maintain or improve quality. In 2013-14, Partnership served nearly half of all licensed child care programs in Durham, reaching 75% of children in child care. 

    Click here to view a larger image.

    Click here to view yesterday's infographic on increasing access to child care.

    Infographic: Increasing Access to Child Care

    by Administrator 27. January 2015 11:28

    Each year, we evaluate the programs we fund to measure impact, track community indicators and needs, and report to our stakeholders on how we are doing in our efforts to prepare all children for school. We’ve a created a series of infographics to provide an overview of  the impact of Partnership programs, at both the program and community level. Each day this week we will post a new infographic right here on this blog to showcase the great work being accomplished. Today's infographic focuses on increasing access to high-quality child care in Durham. 

    Click here to view a larger image. 

    Month List