Parents can be their children’s first and best teachers – but they need the tools.
The Parents Succeeding Program, with funding from Vanguard/Campaign for Grade Level Reading, provides those tools and builds parents’ confidence in accessing and using them. Your Library is one of three organizations across the country selected to pilot this initiative. The goal is to build parents’ sense of agency and efficacy in sharing cultural, educational and social enrichment activities with their children.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library will partner with organizations throughout the community to recruit 50 families with preschool-age children to participate in planning and executing activities through fall, 2022. Most families will be at 200% poverty level, and the activities and group outings will both prepare children for academic success and help parents and caregivers understand how to access and use community resources to strengthen their own skills and support their children’s educational journey.
The program will help families learn to plan activities and introduce free, low-cost and low barrier opportunities. In addition to the outings themselves, Library staff will lead parent workshops to introduce child development concepts, explore the way each field trip ties to specific areas of development, and encourage activities and interventions to engage children before, during and after an excursion.
Trips feature a storytime, and children will receive books to build their home libraries – but the initiative includes much more. “This is meant to be a holistic program,” explains Barbara Cantisano, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Early Literacy Program Manager. “It will be heavy on language development and literacy, but that’s only one area of child development. We’re hoping to build parents’ skill sets in all areas, to help them become lifelong learners themselves, and models for their children.”
Each of the three cities will approach the pilot differently. Here, the educational framework and goals are based on North Carolina’s Foundations for Early Learning and Development. Observation records will measure outcomes based on interactions between parents and children and skill sets of parents at the start and end of the year. Other tools will measure outputs such as attendance and participation rates.
To learn more about Parents Succeeding or recommend a family who might participate, contact Barbara Cantisano at firstname.lastname@example.org.