Because the best anti-poverty solution is high-quality early education
 

Early Education

The Need: 

Last year, 24% of Californian children under six years old lived in poverty. That’s 2.9 million young children who face serious risks that compromise their cognitive, physical and social-emotional development. Research shows that without high-quality preschool, children from low-income families enter 12-14 months behind their peers on their first day of kindergarten. In fact, the biggest predictor of high school graduation is whether a child can read by the end of third grade– and without high-quality education, 83% of low-income children cannot. The achievement gap starts here.

WCC’s Early Education Programs: Each day, WCC’s high-quality early education programs serve over 400 at-risk children (0-5) from very-low income families in southwest Los Angeles County at our state-of-the-art early education center, in our network of licensed family childcare homes throughout the community, and in individual family homes. WCC contracts with the State of California to provide early education services to toddlers and preschoolers as well as with the federal government to provide Early Head Start services to pregnant women and families with very young children.

At WCC, our children learn from trained, bilingual teachers and child development specialists who tailor developmentally appropriate and individualized lesson plans (for children (0-5) that:

    • Help them develop social-emotional skills, including executive functions (sharing, taking turns, expressing emotions, self-control, self-awareness, self-confidence, sense of autonomy, etc.)
    • Help them develop cognitive skills (number and beginning math skills, color and shape recognition, object permanency, letter recognition and writing, etc.)
    • Support their healthy physical development (fine and gross motor skills, speech and auditory skills, visual perception, health hygiene habits, safety, healthy meals, etc.)

By ensuring each child’s healthy social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development through a range of activities such as art, science, math, dramatic play, circle time, reading, yoga, music, and outside play, WCC reinforces in children the tools they will need to succeed in life (curiosity, confidence, optimism, self-control, resilience, and perseverance).

Each day, WCC’s children receive a healthy breakfast, lunch, and a snack that are developed by a registered dietitian. This food is the primary source of nutrition for many children in our programs. In addition to time spent in our developmentally appropriate classrooms, play yards, and library, WCC’s children also spend time exploring our beautiful organic children’s learning garden where they learn about fruits and vegetables through planting, harvesting, tasting, and composting.

In addition to providing children with a rich learning environment that catalyzes their creativity and innate intelligence, WCC’s early education programs emphasize the critical role of engaged, active parent involvement to every child’s healthy development. We bring the expertise our agency has developed from over 25 years of working with families in crisis to our work with low-income families who are often facing a multitude of stressors (poverty, isolation, depression, single parenthood, domestic violence, and lack of education).Through regular parenting classes, positive parenting coaching, parent-teacher meetings, volunteer opportunities (in the classroom, on parent advisory committees, and on WCC’s board of directors), support groups, case management, pediatric consultations, and access to special needs screenings and advocacy, our programs teach parents how to advocate for and support their children’s physical, cognitive and social-emotional development.

 

Footnotes

– Children’s Defense Fund- http://www.cdfca.org/policy-priorities/child-poverty/

– First 5- http://www.first5la.org/articles/homeless-children-0-5-in-los-angeles-county

Note: Transportation is available for Early Head Start participants.