Early education advocates from across the city and I met at the Naramake Elemenrtary School to highlight the positive effects that Norwalk’s 50 new early childhood education ‘school readiness’ slots and increased funding for three local Family Resource Centers will make in the lives of local youngsters and their parents.
1,000 new school readiness slots were recently identified and awarded to providers throughout Connecticut as a part of the education reforms that Governor Dannel P. Malloy championed earlier this year. Five different pre-school centers in Norwalk received 50 of those slots and an associated $390,000 in state funding.
Norwalk also received a $39,000 increase in state funding for its three family resource centers at the Naramake Elementary School, the Fox Run Elementary School and the Side by Side Charter School.
Over the last few years under Governor Malloy we have seen a new investment to early childhood education here in Connecticut, and with that has come a new commitment in our family resource centers. I’ve always said family resource centers do the most with the least.
On top of that we have added 50 new slots for early childhood education in Norwalk, which is a result of our bipartisan education reform bill this year. Connecticut has the largest educational achievement gap in the nation, and we need to close that. Having more early childhood education slots is going to make a big difference.”
“Our families rely on good quality child care to go to work, or to look for work, and area businesses rely on child care as well for their employees,” said Lynn Sadlon, director of the Fox Run Family Resource Center on Fillow Street in Norwalk. “Senator Duff and the Norwalk delegation really came through for us and saved the family resource centers.”
Fox Run’s Family Resource Center will use its new funding to:
- Start a Spanish-speaking parents group at the school and provide additional outreach and support to our growing Spanish-speaking population
- Keep the afterschool enrichment, positive youth development activities and SummerCare childcare affordable for all families
- Serve additional families in our Parents As Teachers (PAT) program for parents with children age prenatal to age 5
- Purchase books so families in our PAT program and Early Connections groups can start home libraries
The Naramake Elementary School Family Resource Center will use its new funding to:
- Increase translation services to better support bilingual families
- Extend after school hours to support the schedule of working families without additional cost
- Hire a Positive Youth Development Coordinator to work with the school social worker, parents, after school coordinator and students primarily in grades 3-5 to ensure success and positive social development
- Allow returning before- and after-school families to have the opportunity to access a sliding fee scales for tuition and a reduced rate at 5% to make before- and after-school more affordable
- Increase the after-school program enrichment budget by 15% to enhance and expose students to cultural, artistic and music and movement opportunities
Side By Side will be using its funding to:
- Hire a developmental psychologist for a parent forum which will cover the dynamics of bullying and what parents can do if their children are engaging in bullying behavior or are the target of social aggression. We will also host a student forum where a youth counselor who specializes in improvisation will bring in a team of peer leaders from the local high school to work with students. This program supports our Safe School Climate Plan and our four behavior expectations: Respect, Independence, Social Justice and Empathy (RISE).
- Host additional enrichment classes for our after school program
- Purchase books and materials for our ESL students
- Purchase books and materials for our PAT home visits and early learning group
- To support our RBA (Results Based Accountability) data collection