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Supporting Families Through Early Learning Programs

Also known as P-3(or Prenatal-Third Grade), First 10 is a comprehensive model focused on the first 10 years of a child’s life to ensure that children and their families enter school ready to learn and succeed. A joint effort between Community Action Partnership and five school districts in Lancaster County, known as P-3 Partnership Pathways, is working to change that. Together, they are working with elementary schools to forge deeper partnerships with families and community organizations well before children arrive at kindergarten. The aim of this work is to improve children's experiences and support through family engagement along the entire continuum from prenatal care through grade 3 and beyond. A particular area of focus has been how districts can better support families through early learning programs and the Kindergarten transition. On January 28th, the P-3 Partnership Pathways team with the Lancaster-Lebanon IU13 to focus on that specific need with their Family Engagement through First 10 Transitions Summit.

Twenty districts across Lancaster, Lebanon, and York Counties were in attendance to listen to a presentation from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning on their recently released Family Engagement Guidelines for Birth-Five Years of age. These guidelines provide districts with a blueprint to follow on best practices for engaging families, so that no matter where districts are on building a plan for their student’s First 10 years, they have a resource to guide them.

In the afternoon, David Jacobson, a nationally recognized expert and innovator in education, spoke on the importance of Family Engagement in the process of Kindergarten Transitions. David encouraged districts to dig deep and self-examine the way they currently transition students into Kindergarten. He advocated for thinking critically about what can be done better to support both students and families during what can often be a difficult transition. Districts then were able to build a Kindergarten Transition plan, listing out their current activities and build in new ideas. Our hope was that everyone left the day feeling inspired and renewed in finding new and thoughtful ways to engage children of all ages in their district.

Meg Stover
P-3 Specialist
Community Action Partnership