Home Visiting Can Bolster High Quality Preschool Efforts

By Karen Nemeth

I blogged about my concern that high quality preschool is failing to reach some of the neediest children who can’t make it to a program every day. My main emphasis is always about how these issues and solutions will affect children from different language backgrounds. Then, I posted several resources and solutions to that problem. Now I have two more important ideas to share with you and I invite you to add to the discussion. Registering for WordPress is no big deal. The more resources we have to share, the more successful we can be in helping children from struggling families access the full benefit of services that will give them the best possible start in education and in life.

Here’s an excellent model described by Tammy DiBartolo, Youth Services Manager at the Rapides Parish Library in Alexandria, LA. Tammy wrote: “I just wanted to let you know what we do here at Rapides Parish Library. We have a theme-bag delivery service to 63 Head Start and daycare centers in our area. We also became certified to do training for these teachers and daycare providers so that they could receive clock hours toward their CEUs or CDAs.

In these training sessions we take our theme-bags and show participants how we would use a puppet, a flannel board story or a music CD. We hold the sessions on Saturday mornings about every six weeks. The response has been overwhelming. Now we are often asked to do parent training for Head Start and the Louisiana Parent Congress.

My staff and I belong to several community organizations that work with children. We often do programs for each other’s groups. This has been an effective way to get the word out about our programs and offer other groups as resources for families with children who may need services.

In these hard times communities are going to have to pool resources and work together to prepare children for the future. If we don’t put the money behind preschool education now…we will spend it later in remedial programs and social services.”

Fran S. Simon (FSSimon) recently shared information on Twitter about a seminar on Measuring Home Visiting Program Performance. Hosted by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the seminar “will explore the new generation of home visiting research. Some of our nation’s costliest problems are rooted in early childhood. Evidence-based home visiting programs are proven to produce positive outcomes that deliver fiscal returns of up to $5.70 per dollar invested. As these programs scale up, performance monitoring is critical to assure delivery of high quality services that result in meaningful outcomes and build the case for serving additional families.”

Stay tuned!

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