SCI has two programs that reach out directly to parents.
Since July 2017, SCI’s Parent Outreach Program has focused on helping parents use the power they have to build their babies’ brains through words.
For one hour each week, SCI staff offers tools, training and strategies in early learning initiatives for parents of children under 4 years old in underserved neighborhoods. SCI formed a partnership with the Area Housing Commission to lead parent groups for residents in eight housing campuses with children under 4. Nearly 300 families with children under 4 out of a total of 1,000 families reside in properties managed by Area Housing.
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 guide parents through the importance of talking and interacting with their young children.
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. Seven parent groups have completed sessions since the LENA Start program launched in September 2017. LENA Start leads groups of between 10-20 parents through a 10-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.
Early Learning Initiatives
An Early Learning City is community that give parents the tools, advice and support they need to help their children be ready for kindergarten. From healthcare to business, everyone has a part to play.