BT3 is bringing together Adirondack Community Action Programs and Education Connection, a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization, to bring School Fuel to Essex County. Their website explains, "School Fuel is dedicated to equipping adults and children with tools to embrace the digital age in a mindful, successful way." The partnership between ACAP and Education Connection will train early childhood educators to lead workshops with parents. It is widely accepted that children aged two and younger should not engage in screen time, so parents of very young children will use apps to get parenting questions answered. Parents of older children will learn which programs are developmentally appropriate, and will learn how to engage with their children during screen time. We hope to have a program in place in Essex County by Spring 2017.
This project will provide professional development for early childhood educators, strengthen the bond between providers and parents, and teach parents about child development. For more information about School Fuel, click here.
Resources for New Parents
Kids don't typically come with owner's manuals – but that may soon change in BT3's region. The Alliance has been chosen to participate in a pilot test of the New Parent Kit, a resource developed by the NYS Parenting Education Partnership, thanks to BT3 Steering Committee member Bob Frawley. The Kit includes the New Parent Guide, What to Do When Your Child Gets Sick, and a picture book to read with the baby.
We are also collaborating with Beta Mu, the regional chapter of national service organization Delta Kappa Gamma to bolster their Books for Babies program. Reading to infants and young children well before they are able to read themselves is key to literacy.
The Kits and books will be distributed by county home visitors. We are excited to be working toward making these valuable resources available to all new families.
Technology for Early Childhood Educators
The power of Alliance members working together was evident at BT3's annual meeting. During that event, BT3's Access to High Quality Services Work Group identified lack of access to technology for early childhood educators as a problem they wished to solve. In the coming months, the group will survey educators to determine if they have the equipment they need, and if they are taking advantage of technology to gain access to professional development, network, and run their businesses. After the information is gathered, the group will work to address gaps by looking for funding for technology and holding workshops to teach educators how to use it effectively.
North Country Thrive Partnership
BT3 will be partnering with North Country Thrive to hold a convening in October to bring together early childhood professionals and kindergarten teachers to discuss what we can do to improve kindergarten readiness in the region.
We will keep you posted!