SCI has formed a partnership with the Area Housing Commission to lead parent groups for residents in eight housing campuses with children under 4. In the housing complexes that Area Housing manages, there are 270 families with children under 4 out of a total of 1,000 families.
These children, when they age up to elementary school, primarily attend C.A. Weis, Global Learning Academy, Warrington and O.J. Semmes elementary schools. These neighborhood schools are traditionally among the lowest graded elementary schools in Escambia County School District, according to state standardized test scores (Florida Standards Assessment).
These weekly, one-hour sessions will guide parents through the importance of talking and interacting with their young children. The Moreno Court group began meeting in July; Attucks Court began meeting in August; Morris and Gonzalez Court will launch in November 2017.
SCI also has a partnership with the LENA Research Foundation in Boulder, Colo., to bring research-based parent groups to a Florida community for the first time. The LENA Start program will begin with two pilot sites in September.
It launched at two sites in September 2017, with the ability to expand to up to seven additional sites in 2018. LENA Start leads groups of between 10-20 parents through a 13-week curriculum designed to encourage them to talk and interact more with their children under 3.
It uses the LENA recording device to track the number of words parents say to their children. The weekly reports generated from that data give parents direct feedback on how much they talk and interact with their children. The hour-long weekly classes provide support and strategies to boost the number words and interactions parents share with their children doing everyday things.