We were excited to learn that our Head Start program was approved for an Early Language and Literacy grant issued by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement in January. Grant funding is being used to support two Nurturing Parents Literacy Programs in CSI’s Ware County Head Start facility.

How does the Nurturing Parents Literacy Program work? The program is built around 10 sessions that focus on the following concepts: Philosophy and Practices of Nurturing Parenting, Ages & Stages of Growth for Infants and Toddlers, Ways to Enhance Positive Brain Development in Children, Communicating with Respect, Building Self-Worth in Children, Understanding Feelings, Understanding and Developing Family Morals, Values and Rules, Praising Children and Their Behavior, Alternatives to Spanking and Learning Positive Ways to Deal with Stress & Anger. Literacy practices and activities are incorporated into each session and families receive an age-appropriate book to go along with each concept.

Grant funding will allow us to carry out two programs, one in the current school year and a second in the upcoming school year. Each program can include up to 20 families of either a Head Start or Early Head Start child. Families are recommended by CSI Family Advocate staff – these staff have worked closely with the families and are able to identify participants that are most likely to benefit from and grow in the program.

What do we hope to accomplish? There are three primary outcomes of the literacy program. The first is that families will attend all sessions to receive the full benefit of the material. Families with full attendance will receive additional literacy materials at the completion of the program. Secondly, we hope to see increased literacy activities taking place in the home that incorporate the easy and fun techniques taught during weekly program sessions. Finally, we want participants to build a home library with at least 40 age-appropriate books or magazines to provide their children access to literacy materials when they are outside of the classroom. The combined effect of these three outcomes will result in a huge impact on early childhood literacy.

Lending libraries An additional exciting component of this grant funding will provide for the construction of two small lending libraries. These libraries will be placed at the Head Start and Early Head Start center.

Families participating in the Nurturing Parents Literacy Program will take an active role in building, decorating, and maintaining the libraries once they are put in place.
Our first program began March 1, 2018, and we have a great group of families participating. We are excited about the potential of this program, and hope these initial sessions will serve as a pilot for us to expand to our other centers in the future.

Below: Participant families discuss and work on Nurturing Parent Literacy Activities.