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.

Partnerships for the Whole Child: Webinar Series Registration

Register now. Terrific line-up of panelists. Critically important topic at this moment in time. Great experience working with these partners:

The AASA (The School Superintendents Association), NAESP (the National Association of Elementary School Principals), CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers), EDC (Education Development Center), New America, and NAECS-SDE (the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education) invite you to join us for a 4-part webinar series. 

How can communities and states advance equity and build comprehensive approaches that promote whole child learning and development from birth through elementary school? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fundamental flaws in the systems that support children and families in the United States. Addressing these weaknesses is essential to ending racial injustice and addressing inequality. This is a moment in time to consider how we can best set up early childhood educators and professionals to be successful both during the pandemic and as we rebuild systems in its aftermath. 

Join us for engaging discussions on advancing equity and promoting whole child learning and development from before birth through elementary school. We will learn from innovative models from around the country, including CPC P-3, First 10, Maryland’s Judy Centers, and Metro Omaha’s Birth through Grade 3 initiative, and from trailblazing communities, including Boston, MA, Lancaster, PA,  Oakland, CA, Orlando, FL, Woonsocket, RI, Yakima, WA, rural Maine, and others. 

Hear from principals, superintendents, program directors, local and state leaders, and other experts on how these models combine a focus on teaching and learning, deep family engagement, health and social service supports, and continuous improvement. 

This first webinar will take place on Thursday, November 12th at 4 PM ET and will focus on the following topics:

  • Aligning curriculum and instruction pre-K through elementary school 
  • Ensuring successful transitions to kindergarten 
  • Promoting professional learning across communities 

Click here to register for all four webinars.

In Washington, Good Grades for Universal Pre-K (NYT)

Nice article by Connor Williams. He begins:

“Free public school starting at age four, or even three, is growing in many American cities. It’s gaining traction as a way to help young children learn the reading, counting and social skills that prepare them for kindergarten. It also promises to help close academic gaps between rich and poor children. Above all, it may have lasting benefits for attendees, including success in school and better lives as adults.

But promises are not guarantees, and universal pre-K works better in some places than in others. Washington, D.C., runs one of the country’s oldest, best-funded, most comprehensive pre-K systems. So what can other cities learn from Washington’s success?”

Education Week Reviews the All Children Learn and Thrive Study

District Dossier 2019-06-11 110837

Education Week’s Christina Samuels begins her review of the All Children Learn and Thrive study as follows below. I appreciate that she highlights several examples from the study. While the Executive Summary provides the key findings and proposes a theory of action, see the Full Report for numerous case studies and a fuller explanation of the theory of action in the Conclusion. You can click on specific case studies in the table of contents, including ones on Multnomah County, OR, Greater Omaha, NE, the Cherry Park and Earl Boyles Elementary Schools, Normal, IL, and Boston and Cambridge, MA.

From How Schools, Districts, and Communities Are Joining Forces to Bolster Early Learning:

“A common complaint in the early-childhood field is that several different entities exist to support young children and their families, but those organizations often don’t work together.

But in a number of communities across the country, schools, districts, and early-childhood providers have come together to dismantle those organizational silos.

For example, Cherry Park Elementary School in Portland, Ore., a part of the 9,700-student David Douglas district, runs a summer kindergarten transition program to prepare young students for school, supports a home-visiting program, operates a food bank, and offers cooking classes and financial literacy programs.

Another example: the city of Cambridge, Mass., established a birth-to-3rd grade partnership that includes representatives from the 7,000-student Cambridge district, as well as early-childhood and community-health providers. The partnership there includes creating home visiting and play-and-learn groups for infants, toddlers and their parents; working to boost the quality of family child-care providers; and providing coaching in early literacy, math, and science for the district’s prekindergarten and early-elementary teachers.

Those efforts and many more are catalogued in the report “All Children Learn and Thrive: Building First 10 Schools and Communities” by David Jacobson, released earlier this spring. Jacobson, a principal technical adviser for the Education Development Center, said he was particularly interested in capturing work that is blending academic support for the first decade of a child’s life, along with programs that also help parents and caregivers ….”

 

Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Do children in a keyboard world need to learn old-fashioned handwriting?

There is a tendency to dismiss handwriting as a nonessential skill, even though researchers have warned that learning to write may be the key to, well, learning to write.

And beyond the emotional connection adults may feel to the way we learned to write, there is a growing body of research on what the normally developing brain learns by forming letters on the page, in printed or manuscript format as well as in cursive.

New York Timeshttp://goo.gl/RZqcvF