POTTER ELEMENTARY INITIATIVE
The Potter Elementary initiative, launched in 2012, strives to deliver training for child care providers that engages parents in helping their children learn. Raised awareness among parents about the importance of early learning is being achieved through outreach.
“I think one of the benefits of the partnership is that our clients are getting an immediate response.” – A community stakeholder and partner
- There are 21 family child care homes participating, representing approximately 200 children and 160 families. Family child care home operators have increased their knowledge of training subject matter and their education — 90 percent have achieved their Child Development Associate credential.
- In 2013, 94.4% of family child care home operators improved in both provider-parent communication domains and in community resource domains. These child care providers are participating in programs to increase family engagement such as implementing Raising a Reader with families.
- Throughout the year, the initiative offers or participates in events for parents where educational and community resources were provided. Parents and child care providers have received 1,102 take-home activities to use with their children at home to help support early learning.
- 305 East Tampa residents attended a Money Matters class at the Sanchez Center, compared to 195 in 2012; 51.7 percent stated that they learned a new skill relating to financial management. East Tampa residents were also provided case management at the Sanchez Center.
Strategy 1: Train providers and others who work with families with young children.
Strategy 2: Invest in Family Child Care both to improve children’s readiness for school and as a channel to support parents.
Strategy 3: Work through existing providers to meet parents’ basic needs.
Strategy 4: Work through existing channels to raise parent awareness about the importance of early, in-home learning and its positive impact on student success in school.
INTEGRATION & PARTNERSHIPS
“The partners ensure that they are not duplicating services or events. By planning what activities and services we are offering with the families, we have a relationship that means working together rather than us working in our own silos.” – A community stakeholder and partner
In addition to the results for each strategy, interviews noted that the initiative was successful due to two items: integration and partnerships.
- The Crisis Center uses braided funding to support the Potter Elementary School families. They also coordinate across programs to serve families. For example, they have brought the Strengthening Families Program curriculum to families that might not have had it otherwise. One of the case managers is a certified trainer for that program.
- In order to leverage resources, Champions for Children uses several strategies. First, where allowable, Champions uses existing staff members who are not part of the Potter Elementary School initiative to provide training. Second, Champions staff members identify appropriate existing training opportunities and promote those to the participating family child care home providers through e-mails and personal phone calls. Finally, Champions is encouraging existing providers to train and support current providers with their years of experience with family child care homes (vs. child care centers).
- Having the initiative located at the Delia P. Sanchez Full Service Center means that families can easily access a variety of social services to increase their stability.
“The partnership allows us to reach out to parents and the community in ways we couldn’t do before.” – A community stakeholder and partner
- Champions for Children provides project coordination and implements strategies around parent engagement and improving the quality of family child care.
- The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay provides services to families to help them achieve financial stability.
- The Delia P. Sanchez Full Service Center (Sanchez Center) provides space for initiative staff, assists in conducting outreach, and partners on community projects.
- The Early Learning Coalition collaborates on providing training to family child care home providers.
- Potter Elementary collaborates on engaging parents by offering access to parents, collaborating on parent events, and providing opportunities for parents to be involved.
- Local businesses and churches provide resources for parent engagement activities.
- United Way Suncoast provides project oversight and assists partners to ensure the initiative’s success.