A newsletter excerpt from Adelante Mujeres about their Early Childhood Education program. SVP is currently wrapping up our 2012-2015 investment in Adelante Mujeres, during which time their operating budget increased by $500K.
Adelante Mujeres is excited to announce that our Early Childhood Education (ECE) program is gearing up to serve more children. Our new partnership with the Oregon Child Development Coalition’s (OCDC) Head Start program will allow us to more than double the number of children we serve and expand the services we provide.
To accommodate the growth, we will be moving the classrooms to a new location at OCDC’s building on Enterprise Circle in Hillsboro. The two organizations have a long history of partnership, which began when we shared a federal Even Start grant over ten years ago.
“We are very grateful to have leased space at Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church for the last 12 years. Now, we look forward to moving into a space with classrooms specifically designed for infants, toddlers, and preschool children,” says Adelante Mujeres Executive Director Bridget Cook
In addition to the new space, the partnership will allow us to serve infants, teach year-round, offer physical, dental, and mental health services, and provide meals.
Early Childhood Education has been deeply connected to the mission of Adelante Mujeres since its inception. In our community, 40% of Latino children live in poverty and the gaps in opportunity and achievement can be seen by age three. In response, we have developed a culturally responsive model that engages the mother as the child’s primary teacher.
“Our model fosters relationships between moms and kids, and gives parents the knowledge and opportunity to be actively involved in their child’s education,” says Bridget.
To maintain this model of learning together, Adelante Mujeres will rent a classroom in OCDC’s Hillsboro building and move Adult Education classes there as well. That way, moms and children will continue to come together for nutrition activities, lunchtime, and a weekly Música Juntos (Music Together) class.
To accommodate the increase in students, we have hired eight new teachers and several substitutes. Many of our new teachers were students in our Adult Education program, and have a strong sense of how Adelante Mujeres strengthens families.
“The ability to offer our former participants the opportunity to grow professionally is my favorite part of this collaboration,” says ECE Program Coordinator Francisca Pérez, “they have a lot of knowledge and a lot of passion, and they understand our mission, which is very important.”
Experienced teachers Rosalia Dominguez and Maria Esther Rizo look forward to the opportunity to mentor and collaborate with this new team, and Francisca will be able to focus solely on her role as Program Coordinator.
As the program grows, the mission and methods of the program will remain the same. “The fact that we are going to serve more families does not mean that we will change the work that we do or the quality of the work that we do,” says Francisca.
We will also continue to provide an engaging place for children to discover the world around them and the fun and excitement of learning.
“It is very important that kids are ready for kindergarten,” says Bridget, “and being ready means becoming eager learners with the skills and confidence to communicate well and relate well to others.”