ARTIST: Pamela Wiley
A Simulated Proposal for:
A Community-Based African American Mothers & Early Childhood Education Initiative (The Power of Participation)
A community-based mothers and children center called Bubastis Cultural Institute will be established in Pinellas Point, the community surrounding Saint Petersburg, Florida. BCI will focus on providing early child hood education and counseling for mothers, especially those from extremely low income areas. It is expected that through the providing of information to the mothers that it will be possible to have a direct and positive effect on the early childhood education of the young children in the community.
BCI will utilize volunteers who are students at The Saint Petersburg College Early Childhood Education Program. Each student will be expected to successfully participate in a 4-week training program at the beginning of their work with BCI. This training will provide basic educational information for students and information on adult teaching methods. Student volunteers who demonstrate proficiency during the initial training program will be invited to participate in an advanced training program to learn effective educational counseling techniques. Each student volunteer will be expected to contribute 3-5 hours each week and to continue with BIC for a period of not less than 6 months.
BCI will operate with 6 full-time and part-time staff. In addition a Governing Board made up of community leaders and university staff will operate overall sanctioning of the Institute’s operation. Periodic evaluations will be conducted to assess the value of BCI on; a) helping student volunteer to become effective educators, b) the development of new understandings of the part of local mothers, c) the improvement of early childhood readiness of children in Pinellas Point.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION/ STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
“Across all socioeconomic groups, parents face major challenges when it comes to providing optimal care and early childhood education for their children. For families in poverty, these challenges can be formidable. Sometimes, when basic necessities are lacking, parents must place top priority on housing, food, clothing, and health care. Educational toys, games, and books may appear to be luxuries, and parents may not have the time, energy, or knowledge to find innovative and less-expensive ways to foster young children’s development.
Even in families with above-average incomes, parents often lack the time and energy to invest fully in their children’s preparation for school, and they sometimes face a limited array of options for high-quality child care–both before their children start school and during the early school years. Kindergarten teachers throughout the country report that children are increasingly arriving at school inadequately prepared.” (p. 195)
Families with low socioeconomic status often lack the financial, social, and educational supports that characterize families with high socioeconomic status. Poor families also may have inadequate or limited access to community resources that promote and support children’s development and school readiness. Parents may have inadequate skills for such activities as reading to and with their children, and they may lack information about childhood immunizations and nutrition. Zill, Collins, West, and Hausken (1995) state that “low maternal education and minority-language status are most consistently associated with fewer signs of emerging literacy and a greater number of difficulties in preschoolers.” Having inadequate resources and limited access to available resources can negatively affect families’ decisions regarding their young children’s development and learning. As a result, children from families with low socioeconomic status are at greater risk of entering kindergarten unprepared than their peers from families with median or high socioeconomic status.
The use of volunteers to provide community service is a new concept in Pinellas Point and can be capitalized upon as a viable way to provide trained manpower for the offering of education services. The selection and training of student volunteers is conducted autonomously at each college with the support of instructional material disseminated by the BCI Educational Development Center.
There are two major goals for the Mother’s Early Childhood Education Initiative Project and specific objectives within each of the goals.
GOAL #1 To increase school readiness
Objective #1.1 -To provide mothers in Pinellas Point with relevant information regarding early childhood education.
Objective #1.2 -To assist mothers in Pinellas Point in learning how to effectively apply educational information in preparing their young children for Kindergarten.
Objective #1.3.-To teach mothers in Pinellas Point how to evaluate changes in the education of their young children.
GOAL #2- To effectively use volunteers as a major factor in helping mothers to learn.
Objective #2.1-To recruit a group of undergraduate student (15-20 students each school-year) at Saint Petersburg College to become volunteers in the Mother’s Early-Childhood Education Initiative Project
Objective #2.2- To provide a 4-week training program for the volunteers that cover; a) basic early childhood information for mothers and;
b) information on adult teaching methods.
Objective #2.3- To place the students in the BCI Center to offer tutoring services to local mothers.
Objective #2.4- To compare the type and degree of volunteer learning that takes place in the BIC project as compared to volunteer involvement with SPC.
There are two different clientele groups for this project
The first, and primary, clientele are the mothers of young children who live in Pinellas Point. This clientele group is represented in the project objectives for
The second clientele group is the students at Saint Petersburg College who will participate in the Project as volunteers. This clientele group is represented in the project objectives for Goal #2
Both clientele groups are important and essential components of this project. It is expected that significant learning will take place for both clientele groups.
The primary method for achieving the goals and objectives of the Project will be:
- the creation of a Center in the city that will become a focal point for providing information on early childhood education for young children through workshops and one-on-one counseling of mothers, and
- the development of recruitment/training program and supervised practicum for student volunteers that is modeled.
In addition, a Documentation/Dissemination Plan will be developed by staff to guarantee the systematic collection of information about the operation of the Project and provide the basis for sharing information with other similar projects.