STEPPING STONES, NORWALK COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND LITERACY HOW ANNOUNCE JOINT EARLY LEARNING AND LITERACY INITIATIVE
Collaboration addresses community’s early childhood education needs and will include pre-k learning labs, teacher training and after school and parent programs
NORWALK, Conn. – Stepping Stones Museum for Children, Norwalk Community College and Literacy How, Inc. have joined forces to close the literacy achievement gap and better prepare young children for school. The Early Learning and Literacy Initiative (ELLI) is a new community partnership between public and private entities designed to address the early learning and literacy needs and interests of children; prepare them for success in school and future careers; and inspire a lifelong love of learning.
“If our children thrive, Connecticut will thrive. If we expect pediatricians to have state-of-the-art skills to keep our kids healthy, then we should expect no less from our teachers,” said Margie B. Gillis, president and founder of Literacy How. “This collaboration will set up teachers and students for early literacy success grounded in the latest research on how language supports learning and what works in the classroom.”
The ELLI is a dynamic, asset-based initiative that will:
Build the capabilities of all children and help close the literacy achievement gap in Connecticut;
Provide teaching and learning experiences within language-rich environments for students, parents, caregivers and educators that foster early language and literacy development;
Incorporate learning-how-to-learn strategies to strengthen the relationship between learning and living successful lives;
Align with supportive community leadership and resources through organizations such as Norwalk ACTS, a collaborative network of more than 40 Norwalk community leaders and organizations.
“At Stepping Stones Museum for Children, we create quality, interactive environments where children can learn about the world through play. Through this unique partnership, the ELLI will provide immersive teaching and learning opportunities for both children and adults to learn, grow and succeed,” said Rhonda Kiest, executive director of Stepping Stones.
The ELLI will reside at Norwalk Community College and Stepping Stones, with satellite program extensions at offsite locations. The learning framework, approach, educational curriculum and program design will be facilitated by field experts using the most inclusive and effective classroom practices to engage every student at all skill levels. The ELLI will serve as a model in collaborative early childhood education that can be replicated throughout Connecticut.
“As the largest producer of early childhood educators in Southwestern Connecticut, Norwalk Community College is thrilled to enter into this exciting partnership with Stepping Stones and Literacy How,” said David L. Levinson, president of Norwalk Community College. “This will allow our educators to experience the hands-on, rich tactile environment of Stepping Stones as we expand the breadth and depth of our program.”
A cornerstone of the ELLI will be pre-kindergarten lab schools for children ages 5 and younger. These lab schools will serve as training and professional development sites for teachers, parents and caregivers, with opportunities for conducting educational research-to-practice studies. The ELLI and its lab schools will combine the voice of evidence and the voice of experience, providing children and adults with immersive, experimental and experiential learning opportunities.
About Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Stepping Stones Museum for Children (www.steppingstonesmuseum.org) in Norwalk is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501(c)(3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. Located on five acres in Mathew Park, the recently expanded LEED Gold certified museum encompasses five hands-on galleries, state-of-the-art multimedia theater, Family and Teacher Resource Center, café and retail store. Stepping Stones also offers onsite educational events and workshops, school and group programs and traveling resources for schools, libraries and youth-serving organizations.
Stepping Stones is located at 303 West Avenue, exit 14N or 15S off I-95 in Norwalk. Museum hours are Monday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children. Children under 1 are free.
About Norwalk Community College
Norwalk Community College (www.ncc.commnet.edu), based in Norwalk, was the first two-year college established in Connecticut. Enrolling nearly 15,000 students, the college offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. NCC’s extensive involvement with the communities it serves has made it the only community college in Connecticut to earn a place on the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching’s 2010 Community Engagement classification.
NCC is one of 30 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges nationwide, a distinction honoring outstanding student success initiatives; one of 15 community colleges nationwide to receive major funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for developmental education initiatives; and a member college of the United Nations Academic Impact.
About Literacy How, Inc.
Literacy How (www.literacyhow.com), based in North Haven, provides educators and administrators from pre-service to higher education with comprehensive professional development in literacy. The only organization of its kind in Connecticut, Literacy How specializes in applying reading research to successful classroom practice.
Literacy How is a group of passionate advocates who believe teachers teach students to read, write and spell, not programs or products. Since 2000, Literacy How has advanced teaching and learning by helping hundreds of educators use research-based knowledge and best practices to succeed.