Tanner Community Development's Early Childhood Develop Program (ECD) recognizes that parents are their child's first teachers. Additionally, they recognize that many parents and caregivers may not understand how providing support activities can eventually support the development of reading and other literacy skills. Knowing that early learning experiences impact a child's long-term educational success, ECD provides support and services to parents and childcare providers. These services are designed to provide through workshops, classes and direct individual home visits the necessary skills, knowledge and support to prepare parents and caregivers to become highly qualified first and early teachers of 0-3rd grade children.
ECD seeks the following outcomes in their home visitation program and group meetings:
The parent educator's visits have the following consistent format: Rapport-Building
Observation-observing the child with the parent Discussion of the child and addressing parent questions or concerns Activity-a parent-child activity tailored to the child's developmental age and progress and explaining a follow-up activity the parent can work on with the child until the next visit Summary-recapping the visit and reminding about the follow-up activity.
ECD includes four program components:
Parent Group Meetings
Resource And Referral Support
Although ECD developed their own curriculum to address some of the developmental skills and support parents and caregivers require, the curriculum used for home visitation is the "Parents as Teachers" (PAT) curriculum. Parents as Teachers are a highly acclaimed national home visitation model program in existence for 25 years. The PAT model provides a detailed curriculum for early childhood parent education and family support and has the capacity to address the needs of families from pregnancy until children enter kindergarten (0-5 years of age). The program provides parents with child development knowledge, opportunities for modeling positive parent-child interactions and regular parent contact and support.
The parent educator establishes a routine for conducting regular developmental screenings including the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) and Ages and Stages: Social Emotional (ASQ: SE), Functional Hearing and Vision Tests or Otoacoustic Emissions or Audiometry/Tympanometry as appropriate for the child's age. At each visit, the parent educator looks for opportunities to connect the family with additional resources in the community. These include, among others, health Insurance enrollment, Women's Infants and Children's (WIC) Nutritional Services, developing a relationship with and using a consistent medical provider, Head Start, job services, quality child care and early intervention services. The parent educator develops a resource and referral network and can address resource needs. They become expert in local resources and actively seek those resources for families appropriate to their specific needs and uses every opportunity during the visit and in between visits to help families access other resources including health care and encourage the use of a medical home, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Child Care Resource and Referral, food boxes, diapers, baby furniture and equipment, early intervention services, other programs such as employment, job training, GED, and others.
Educators keep detailed records of referrals and conduct follow-up calls within two weeks to determine the outcome of the referral. They also seek to learn of any obstacles or barriers that prevent families from seeking help from the referral sources and work with the family to alleviate them so they can obtain the assistance needed.
By working with families in their homes, parent educators seek to provide for the diverse needs of each family. EDC was developed so that the neediest families may have access to high quality, family centered programs that meet their individual needs and ultimately lead to successful family and child outcomes. The mission is simply to provide the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life. It is family-centered and focuses on the families strengths. Although the child's development and milestones are at the core of the program, it is the interactions of parent and child that are modeled, encouraged and supported that makes the program unique. The relationship between the parent educator and the parent with the child as the focus make a strong foundation for behavior guidance and change.
To encourage families and to assist in alleviating some of the barriers to their progress ECD provides some of the following: bus passes, gas cards, diapers, books, activity kits etc. Due to our limited funds, we must be very careful with the allocation of these resources. Many of the 250 families we serve have a need for emergency food, rent and utility assistance but we are not in a position to offer these services. This is an area where we must partner with other agencies to address some of these Human Service needs
Although the parent educators have a wide knowledge of the available resources and services, often those resources are used up or unavailable. Families may have a car but cannot afford to buy gas for it to take a child to the doctor or interview for a job. Some parents do not take their children to the doctor unless it is an emergency, because they do not have transportation or bus fare and if they do have it, must save for a real serious need. Many of the families we serve are cut off from information, services, and access to resources and have few support systems. Some of the needs of our families are partially supported by a First Things First grant. Those items include: Diapers, bus passes, gas cards, books, family activity kits (crayons, pencils, scissors and paper). Families could benefit from: additional items listed above and rent and utility assistance, clothing (baby and uniforms), emergency food vouchers. To support child development and provide rich learning experiences, the use of 15 I-Pads for group meetings and home visit use. This will allow families to have an experience not available to most of them. Most of our families do not have computers or internet access. Their children may experience them for the first time when they enter school. We are constantly seeking support in this area of Supportive Human Service Assistance.