In 2000, the Ounce built the first Educare school in Chicago and now we partner with the Buffett Early Childhood Fund and early childhood champions to serve young children in under-resourced communities through a network of schools across the country. We are thrilled that the network has been selected as a Red Nose Day grantee. Red Nose Day, it its 5th year, is a campaign with the mission to end child poverty by funding programs that keep children safe, healthy, and educated.
Educare schools across the country have been busy leveraging the funding to reach more children in need with high-quality early learning experiences. Below is a small snapshot of the activity happening around the country:
- At Educare Miami-Dade, teacher Martha Silva is an advocate for expanding science initiatives that enhance STEM skill development for young children. Through reflective and collaborative dialogue, Martha and her colleagues created an “Infant / Toddler Science Fair,” where students participated in interactive activities at various stations set up throughout the classrooms. Children were encouraged to articulate their observations and engage in problem solving as they used their senses to draw conclusions. As a result, children gained a greater understanding of scientific concepts, and teachers enhanced their knowledge with increased confidence in their abilities.
- At Educare West DuPage, teaching staff are offering new parents enhanced training and education opportunities. For example, 16-year old mother Dulce can pursue her high school diploma while daughter Althea receives high-quality care and education in an infant classroom at Educare West DuPage. The school is specifically offering a series of infant massage classes to teach parents how to create physical bonds with their infants, how to calm them with touch, and how to identify and respond to their children’s emotions and communication. Dulce and boyfriend Jesus say that these programs have helped them to bond with and comfort Althea and have given them the opportunity to spend meaningful time with their baby. The classes have also improved Dulce’s confidence as a parent, and her sense that she can help her baby with whatever she needs.
- Other schools like Educare Chicago are using funding to offer museum excursions and other informal science experiences to children and their families. Educare Flint is providing forms of Mindfulness training to staff to improve students’ social emotional learning competencies. At Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach, a parent ambassador program is being developed to support parent engagement and leadership development.
Learn more about the Educare Learning Network.