First 10 Highlights from Lancaster County, PA

In our September First 10 Network webinar, we learned about a great example of county—community collaboration on First 10. We heard from Amanda Burns and Meg May from the Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County and Denise Logue from Cocalico School District about how they are implementing First 10 partnerships in Pennsylvania together. They shared strategies that are working in their region as well as plans for future improvement.

The Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County is an anti-poverty organization that includes programs such as Head Start, PreK Counts, WIC, and Parents as Teachers (PAT). With support from a United Way Collective Impact grant, CAP began First 10 work in 2018.

CAP’s county-wide initiatives include:

  • Forming work groups focused on social-emotional development and family engagement
  • Creating kindergarten transition tools (such as a social-emotional transition form)
  • Mounting a county-wide Basics campaign, including incorporating The Basics into home visits

CAP’s Parents As Teachers (PAT) program includes home visiting, family engagement events, parent cafes, play and learns, and other activities.

The Cocalico School District has partnered with CAP and other community organizations to create a strong First 10 partnership. Denise Logue described their successful Play and Learns (requiring a waiting list!). Their model includes parent learning about The Basics (happening while kids are playing), play time to connect kids and parents with one another, a book or poem reading, a special guest (usually a specialist) from the community such as an eye doctor, speech therapist, etc., and activities related to a theme. The Play and Learns are a true partnership: CAP funds the materials; a local library provides books, resources and toys; the district provides space, technology and their link to school personnel and families for communications.

Cocalico also offers seven Transition to Kindergarten workshops for families of preK students throughout the year. Each workshop has a different focus. The first workshop is about fun & engagement and is designed for students to see how exciting school can be. Other workshops cover social emotional readiness, gross motor skills, reading readiness, math readiness, and writing readiness. The final workshop has the students go to the schools they will be attending in the fall to prepare them for that transition.

In addition, Cocalico has organized several meetings to bring preK and kindergarten teachers together to connect and learn from one another. Sessions have included comparing preK vs kindergarten social emotional standards, examining the literacy standards, and a training on the Heggerty (Phonological Awareness Program) and FUNdations (Phonics) programs.

For more details about their initiatives, view slides from the webinar and visit their websites at caplanc.org and first10lancaster.com.

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