The Parent-Child Home Program National Center sponsors an Annual Conference which takes place in the spring. The two-day conference features workshops for both site coordinators and early literacy specialists, and is designed to provide professional development for PCHP staff. Site coordinators (and, if possible, early literacy specialists) are strongly encouraged to attend. Many of the workshops cover topics of interest to anyone working in the early childhood or home visiting field, and is open to all of those who are interested.
The 2017 Conference will be held from May 8-9 at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, NY.
2017 Keynote Speakers
Al Race, is Chief Knowledge Officer and Deputy Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. A member of the Center’s senior leadership for 10 years, his focus is on how to use the knowledge generated by the Center’s work in order to transform the landscape in which science-based innovation for children and families facing adversity can thrive and grow. As a senior spokesperson for the Center, he helps scientists, researchers, students, the media, and other thought leaders improve their communication of the science of child development and science-based innovation. He also leads the Center’s knowledge translation, communication, and public engagement portfolios, including the development and execution of strategic communications plans, communications research, publications, and new media products. He guides the team that produces the Center’s website, which now averages nearly 4,600 video views and paper downloads each day and nearly 80,000 visitors each month from 200 countries. www.developingchild.harvard.edu
“The Brain Architecture Game: Every Brain Tells a Story “: The Brain Architecure Game is a tabletop game experience that builds understanding of the powerful role of experiences on early brain development – what promotes it, what derails it, and with what consequences for society. A facilitated discussion concludes the game and establishes a strong, shared frame for productive conversations on a range of early childhood issues, policies and programs.
Margaret Caspe, PhD, is a Senior Research Analyst at Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP). Her research focuses on how families, early childhood programs, schools, and communities support children’s learning. As part of the HFRP team, Margaret co-leads the Libraries for the 21st Century: It’s a Family Thing project and develops materials to prepare educators for family engagement. She is co-editor of Promising Practices for Engaging Families in Literacy and author of a variety of reports and articles including Engaging Families in the Child Assessment Process. Margaret received her PhD in Applied Psychology from The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University and she holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining HFRP she was Director of Early Childhood Programs at Children’s Aid Society in New York City. She is based in New Jersey where she and her 3 daughters count reading among their favorite family activities.
Family Engagement for the 21st Century: Reaching Out and Raising Up : Family engagement is one of, if not the, most important predictors of children’s success in school and life. Together we will talk about the latest research and innovations in family engagement and different initiatives across the country that are promoting family engagement anywhere, anytime children learn; in places like the home, early childhood programs, museums, and libraries. We will also explore how a core set of engagement practices – reach out, raise up, reinforce, relate, and reimagine – are reshaping how educators are empowering families in the communities they live.
Despite Lacking a Permanent Home, Preschoolers in the Program Have Shown a 121% Gain on Average in School Readiness and Social, Emotional Development
(Yonkers, New York)… Parents are their children’s first teachers, introducing their little ones to the world around them, and encouraging them to learn. Talking to toddlers, encouraging them to respond back, and helping children learn through play helps preschoolers develop social, verbal, and pre-literacy skills. Without such stimulation, children are more likely to be ill prepared for kindergarten, flounder academically, and ultimately fail to graduate high school.
Fortunately, with the right support, parents can learn how to help their children learn—even, as Leake & Watts has found, when families face the adversity of homelessness. The New York City nonprofit has successfully adapted the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) model, which sends trained visitors into homes to create learning environments, to work with transient families no matter where they stay each week.
Now, thanks to a $140,000 grant from Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, Leake & Watts will be able to expand its Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) to 36 children living in shelters, up from 16 children previously.
“At Leake & Watts, we believe that all of us can rise from where we are today to a better place in the future,” explains Alan Mucatel, executive director of Leake & Watts. “Early childhood supports, such as the Parent-Child Home Program, can change the trajectory of someone’s life. We are grateful to the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation for investing in the future of vulnerable toddlers and preschoolers.”
PCHP visitors go twice a week to wherever families are staying, bringing a new book or educational toy each week, and then reading and playing with the children so parents can be confident when they do it. “They serve as a model so parents understand how to play, read, and talk to their children in a way that promotes school readiness,” explains Meredith Barber, senior director of institutional advancement at Leake & Watts. “All parents can be coached to engage with their children with an eye towards preparing for kindergarten and a life of learning, even if families have no choice but to live in a homeless shelter.”
Program led to a 121% gain in school readiness
More than 93% of homeless families in Leake & Watts PCHP have completed the two years of the program, and the results are impressive. After two years in the program, children’s school readiness increased on average from 1.4 to 3.1, for a gain of 121% on a 4-point scale. The gain was measured through a nationally recognized Parent-Child Home Program Child Behavior Traits (CBT) evaluation, which assesses a child’s school-readiness and early social and emotional development.
Leake & Watts has operated a traditional PCHP for families living in The Bronx for several years. It began to take PCHP into homeless shelters when families in the program lost a place to live.
“With decades of experience supporting fragile families in The Bronx, Leake & Watts has a strong understanding of the challenging logistics when you support families living in extreme poverty,” Ms. Barber says. “Families who move between shelters and temporary residences, ‘double up’ with other families, and rely on pay-as-you-go cell phones, are difficult to reach, but we connect with them. Parents genuinely look forward to PCHP visits.”
Nationwide, children who receive Parent-Child Home Program support are 30% more likely to complete high school than their socioeconomic peers, Ms. Barber notes. There are immediate payoffs as well. “Both parent and child benefit from the positive interaction, attention, and affection. They laugh and smile, and truly engage with each other through the books and toys,” she says. “It strengthens bonds that help families weather the storms.”
About Leake & Watts
Founded as a Manhattan orphanage in 1831, Leake & Watts operates programs serving more than 11,000 children, adults, and families throughout New York City and Westchester County. Programs include early childhood education, foster care and adoption, specialized education services, a home for teenage mothers in foster care, behavioral/mental health support services, and juvenile justice services. Leake & Watts also operates residences for adults with developmental disabilities and a Preventive Services program to stabilize at-risk families so children can remain in their parents’ care.
Leake and Watts Services, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Middle States Association, and the Better Business Bureau. It is the recipient of the New York Community Trust 2014 Gold Nonprofit Excellence Award for Overall Management Excellence. In 2015, the Nonprofit Finance Fund recognized the effectiveness of Leake & Watts’ services by awarding a coveted Change Capital Grant to the agency and the Board of Directors of Leake & Watts was honored as a finalist of the 2016 Brooke W. Mahoney Award for Outstanding Board Leadership. The organization’s administrative offices are located in Yonkers. For more information, the public is invited to visit www.leakeandwatts.org, find it on Facebook www.facebook.com/leakeandwatts, and follow it on Twitter twitter.com/leakeandwatts.
About Parent-Child Home Program
The Parent-Child Home Program supports under-resourced families in preparing their young children for school success, by combining intensive home visits with weekly gifts of books and educational materials. Early-literacy specialists model good practices to educate parents about the importance of parent-child interaction, give them the tools needed to inculcate early literacy skills in their children, and encourage them to see themselves as active participants in their children’s educations. In this program, community-based early learning specialists visit participating families twice a week for two years. When families complete the program, the staff helps parents enroll their children in quality preschools or kindergartens. The program has been replicated in 400 high-need communities in 14 states and in Chile, Canada, Ireland and Bermuda.