Investment in early education through community partnerships

  • March 27, 2017
  • /   Reggie Dogan
  • /   early-learning

Early Learning City_Community

Children are our greatest investment and their future success in school and in life depends on our investment in early education.

Reaching and teaching children in their earliest years — at home and at daycare, preschool or in kindergarten — can help ensure that they get the healthy and strong start they need to reach academic achievement and success throughout their years in school and in life.

A part of my duties as parent outreach coordinator is to develop a good model to assist parents and caregivers in helping their children reach their developmental milestones.

An important part of my duties has been meeting and creating relationships and building partnerships with people, agencies and organization that can help in the goal of improving the quality of life for everyone in the Pensacola Metro through early education.

Each week has opened doors of opportunity to assist in the goal of helping more parents build their babies brains and prepare their young minds and bodies for success in kindergarten and beyond.

MaryAnn Bickerstaff, Children’s Service Director the Pearl Nelson Child Development Center, invited me for a tour of the facilities with the hopes of finding a ways the Studer Community Institute and the center can work together to help more young children develop and thrive.

Pearl Nelson Child Development Center, an early intervention program and pediatric therapy clinic at The Arc Gateway, provides services for children who have, or are at risk of, developmental delays or disabilities. The goal is to assist and aid them in reaching their potential in a fun and safe environment while learning and playing.

Pearl Nelson provided service to more than 500 children with 90 percent showing progress in their development as evidenced through semi-annual evaluation updates.

For state funded early intervention, a child must be between birth ad 3 years of age and show a significant delay in his or her development when evaluated by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals or have a diagnosed condition that may result in a disability.

While research indicates that early intervention can reduce the effect of disability by 30 percent at Pearl Nelson Center, they saw 35 percent children discharged needing fewer services, or no special services at all.

Another vital partnership is developing with Children’s Home Society.

Under the auspices of Children’s Home Society of America, the Pensacola office provides a comprehensive range of services to create healthy children and strong families, including adoption, early learning, child and family counseling, foster care, family stabilization and support, parent education and advocacy.

The prevention programs use research-based methods to break the cycle of abuse and neglect of children.

Children’s Home Society sponsored and led the effort to transform Weis Elementary School into Florida’s second Community In School program.

The community school is beginning to lift the non-educational barriers from the children at Weis by providing health services on-site, including medical, dental, behavioral health care and nutrition support, as well as mentoring and enhanced learning through essential community partnerships.

Weis Community School also provides afterschool growth opportunities to students, their families and community residents.

Building relationships and creating partnerships go a long way in establishing programs that help people and communities grow and thrive.

Every contact made, each partnership created is another important investment in the lives of young children and another step closer to the important mission of building a brain, building a life and building a community.

If you want to help or know someone who has ideas, suggestions or just want to talk about SCI’s labor of love in early learning, email [email protected], or call (850) 529-6485.