Words on the Wing: How to Change a Life
Teaching is hard work. We all know this.
Most of us would run for the hills at the thought of being in a classroom full of infants or toddlers for eight hours at a time. But not our teachers – teachers like Estrella. Many of our teachers have been with us for more five, ten, fifteen – or even close to 30 years, dedicating themselves to shaping and nurturing young lives of those in need.
Their first step, when a new little one comes into their classroom, is to do an Ages and Stages Questionnaire – including the Social Emotional Assessment. This tool screens for developmental delays in the areas of communication, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem solving skills and personal interaction. Children who show evidence of delays are referred to Early Childhood Intervention.
Next – teachers like Estrella start assessing the child using Teaching Strategies- GOLD. This ongoing assessment of abilities is used throughout the year to determine each child’s level of development in 38 areas. The tool provides specific strategies for use with each child, including those with special needs or dual language learners. Reports are provided for parents so they can be full partners in the child’s learning.
Our classrooms are not crowded. They are full of light and words and love. They are full of engaging learning opportunities. This is so important. Especially for our little ones – many of whom come from homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, impoverished homes. Most children who come from these kinds of backgrounds do not thrive. They struggle. They fail. They drop out of school. But teachers like Estrella transform lives – changing the odds for children.
Our latest Child Outcomes Report evaluates our work with children enrolled in our program for at least six months. Our results showed:
100% of the Early Head Start (EHS) children were from low-income families, including 46% who were homeless
Of the children we served through our Early Head Start program, 19% have disabilities, well above the national average of 13% (reported through annual Program Information Report, completed separately)
90% of all children tested as on-level in communication and 96% in literacy Children in our Polytechnic center continue to show the most struggles, across all domains, especially with gross motor abilities
95% of children graduating to kindergarten were ready in ALL areas of kindergarten readiness
There is lots of good news in this report, along with areas where we’d like to see improvement. Take a look at the attached snapshot for a quick look, or, if you’ve got more time, read the full report. I’m very happy to talk with you over the phone or in person about our work or to hear your thoughts about what more we can do to make a difference for children.
Government grants and contracts only pay a portion of the costs of care for these children. Private support fills in the gap – ensuring that Estrella and all our teachers like her can continue to teach children, help parents and TRANSFORM little lives.