Education

Small steps on the journey to America’s first Early Learning City

Making Pensacola America’s first Early Learning City is a lofty goal.

To make that goal a reality means giving each child the best opportunity to live a full and healthy life.

It will, of course, take all of us in the proverbial village to make this happen. And it won’t happen overnight.

A critical component of becoming an Early Learning City that can’t be overlooked is ensuring that parents are ably prepared to help their young children reach important developmental milestones.

Part of my role as parent outreach coordinator is finding the right approach, the idea program, the best project to reach and assist mothers, fathers and caregivers in the delicate and difficult task of child-rearing from birth to 3 years old.

Reaching and teaching children in their earliest years — both at home and at daycare or preschool — can help ensure that they get the healthy and strong start they need to begin school ready to learn and grow.

Fortunately, for me, there are blueprints to follow.

As I search, analyze and dissect programs and organizations that provide quality service and solid programs to help parents and children, it’s refreshing to see other places with similar passion and desire to make a difference by helping young parents and their children.

Across the country are people, places and programs already at work to meet the challenges of helping children reach early education goals and be ready when kindergarten starts.

The Harlem Children’s Zone is among the many successful programs that have always been driven by the belief that the success of our children and the strength of the community go hand-in-hand.

According to its website, “Building on the success of this early initiative, we launched a 10-year strategic plan in 2000, steadily and systematically expanding the depth and breadth of our programming to encompass 24 blocks, then 60 blocks, and ultimately 97 blocks. Today, the Children’s Zone serves more than 10,000 youth and nearly 10,000 adults and our organization as a whole serves over 12,509 youth and 12,498 adults.”

The Harlem Zone realized early to achieve long-term success, children need, more than anything, consistent, comprehensive support.

Its project begins at birth and helps children every step of the way until college graduation through exceptional education, social services, family support, health and community-building programs.

By constantly and continuously measuring the progress of young people, the Harlem Children’s Zone has leveraged the power of its program to ensure that it is fully addressing the needs of every child, at every age.

From Baby College to college graduation, The Harlem Children’s Zone has created a seamless system of supports to take young children on an educational journey reach places they never imagined.

An old maxim says that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

At SCI, we’re taking small steps every day to make Pensacola’s America’s first Early Learning Center. One day we will get there, because as Prometheus said, “Big things have small beginnings.”

Find out more about Harlem Children’s Zone here.