Families are not unlike football teams. There are coaches, players and supporting members who keep the team on track. To "win the day," there needs to be a plan, an understanding of what the goals are, and the full engagement of everyone who can help. This is particularly true of families with young children when the goal is being ready for Kindergarten, and when the game plan is enrolling in a high-quality preschool! Keeping families at the center of the preschool experience pays off for children, parents and teachers! Here's how we are doing it.
With the generous help of The Cleveland Browns and other community partners, Invest in Children's award-winning Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program is advancing a new gold standard of preschool in our community. We are getting more kids into high-quality preschools and we are improving their kindergarten readiness by getting the whole family involved and supporting everyone!
Browns Give Back proudly supports Cuyahoga County and Invest in Children's efforts to ensure the well-being of all young children in the county through the Universal Pre-Kindergarten initiative. With the support of Browns Give Back, Glenville Early Education Center launched and provides free, high-quality preschool to 40 children living in one of Cleveland's most at-risk neighborhoods. Research has shown through the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program, disadvantaged children throughout the county significantly improve their kindergarten readiness, allowing them to have the best possible start to school and beyond!
Recently, four Browns players visited 40 pre-k children at the Glenville Early Learning Center. During the visit, Browns Players interacted with the children through games and read books with the growing scholars.
The UPK Program's Family Engagement work allows our preschools to develop unique family engagement programs that meet parents where they are and celebrates them as their child's first teachers. We know that parents have the knowledge, desire and skills needed to support their child, but sometimes they need some encouragement to recognize that, and some closer involvement to put those skills to work.
Over the last 11 years, our UPK sites have won 5 national awards for innovative family engagement work through the National Network of Partnerships Schools. The creative family engagement activities and events held across our UPK community have been highlighted at international conferences and shared with other family engagement professionals as promising family engagement practices.
Invest in Children recognizes that engagement with parents at this important time in their child's life and the life of their family, offers an opportunity to go beyond traditional notions of what happens at preschool. UPK's new "two-generation" approach seeks to pair the child's high quality UPK education with opportunities for training, education, and employment for the adults in their lives. We believe this added focus on parents as learners and teachers can work to open up a path to economic security for the whole family.