We recognize that communities are at the heart of building strong networks of early childhood services, resources, education, and care. We want to partner with local leaders, with existing service networks, and with providers and parents who want to see their children thrive in a high-quality early childhood care and education setting. While most Preschool Development Grant funded initiatives have contact with communities and encourage local involvement, some focus more specifically on building ties and supporting infrastructure in the areas.
Community Partnerships at Work--Adams County
Communities for Kids (C4K)
Communities for Kids (C4K) is the primary PDG-funded initiative working directly with public and private groups to provide support to and planning for high-quality early care and education in local areas. Designed in response to community requests for assistance with shortages of high quality care and education, C4K partners with local leaders to address the unique needs of the community.
C4K currently works with 4 cohorts that include 34 areas across Nebraska. The list of local partnerships continues to grow, as do the ways in which the initiative offers assistance. Some of the ways in which C4K is responding to communities include:
- Funding dedicated local coordination staff to assist communities in engaging stakeholders and leaders, using data for planning, and connecting to other resources.
- Providing financial assistance, resources, and structural recommendations for building the quality and capacity of early childhood care and education systems in local areas.
- Offering Early Learning Scholarships designed to minimize cost differences for families who do not qualify for subsidies but cannot afford quality care.
- Supporting Spanish-speaking communities by providing early childhood training and resources in their native language.
Related Community Activities
Some community-focused organizations not directly funded by the Preschool Development Grant nonetheless work closely and collaboratively with funded initiatives to help create high quality care environments.
Sixpence offers support, through grant applications, to families with young at-risk children ages 3 and under and early childhood providers "so they can create safe, stimulating environments that spark learning through meaningful interaction." Grants are offered to:
- Pair families with professionals trained to model positive interactions with children and to coach parents in high-quality, developmental moments.
- Fund center-based provider-school system partnerships with centers that "follow proven curricula, emphasize parent involvement, maintain appropriate adult-to-child ratios and reflect professional requirements for staff similar to those endorsed by the Nebraska Department of Education."
- Connect a wide range of center- and home-based providers to supports through Step Up to Quality, which increases the availability of developmentally positive, year-round childcare opportunities for Nebraska families.
Rooted in Relationships
Rooted in Relationships partners with communities to offer evidence-based practices that enhance the social-emotional development of children, birth through age 8. Rooted programs include:
- Training for selected family childcare homes and centers in the Pyramid Model, which promotes the social, emotional, and behavioral competence of young children.
- Building long-range plans based in the healthy social-emotional development of children and designed to impact the early childhood care network in the community.
- Identifying and partnering with other systems in the community to build upon their successful work.
- Using standardized tools and outcome-based assessments to assess community early childhood efforts.