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Early Childhood Program for Hispanic Minorities

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According to Moinolmolki et al. (2016), children from Immigrant communities constitute the fastest growing groups of youth in the United States. Although research reveals significant strong partnerships between families and high quality childhood education programs, many immigrant families living in the U.S. face numerous challenges in accessing top notch quality early childhood education for their children, as well as, in establishing strong partnerships in the program centers. This paper seeks to discuss different aspects of a new early childhood education program which will fulfill the needs of children and families of a Hispanic community living in a rural set up near an industrial plant.

The Type of Program

To determine the type of program that best suits the immigrant Hispanic children will be determined by a needs assessment that will be undertaken. Early Childhood education is not about teaching and grasping of technical concepts but rather about exploration and learning as well as observation, all aimed at achieving the needs of development amongst young learners.

Tools of Needs Assessment

The social, emotional, psychological and behavioral as well as economic issues facing the children and their families will need to be assessed. At a young age, children have various needs which include among others, healthcare, nutrition, housing, family, family income and legal protection. To determine the various early childhood education needs of children living near the agricultural plant, a needs assessment survey will be administered. The results of the survey will be used to determine the next steps of the program. The survey will use a pre-set list of questions which will be administered to a sample population of parents who have children in need of early childhood education. The questionnaires will be administered through a personal interview where observation will also be done during the answering of questions and follow up questions asked for clarification. The results of the interview will then be tabulated and analyzed for decision making on the design of the program.

Needs Assessment

The needs assessment survey will take various steps and will be conducted by a team of five individuals with expertise in data collection and the conduct of in-depth interviews. The team will answer a few questions to make decisions. The questions will be on the reasons why a needs assessment survey is important, the goals of doing the survey, the readiness to conduct the survey, the amount of time needed to complete the survey, the number of questions to be asked, the persons to ask the questions, and the type of questions to ask. A draft of the full survey will be developed and tried on a test group. The survey questions will then be determined based on the feedback by the test group and the survey administered as scheduled. Results tabulation will then follow and an interpretation of the results will determine the future plans. Families and children to be included in the program will be identified through the survey as described by Irwin et al. (2014).

Mission Statement

The new early childhood education program aims at providing a high quality early childhood education to minority Hispanic children living around the Mully Farm. High quality early childhood education will be provided at a low cost and in a flexible program that offers a chance to all families residing within the farm’s proximity. Exploration through play, learning and observation among the children will be the central aspects of the program to ensure that the minority group living in the area can compete at par with the majority in mainstream Early Childhood Development programs.

Type of Program

The families living near the Mully Farm complex plant are basically laborers who rely on daily wages. They have limited time to spend together as a family. Thus, an education and care center program is the best suited for the community. The program will provide care to children aged 1-3 and offer engaging ECD education to the children aged 4-6. An education and care center is a multifaceted program that takes into account the needs of school going children at the age of 4-6 and those of the toddlers aged 1-3 (in need of care).

Space Requirements

The program will require both indoor and outdoor spaces for classroom learning and care as well as playfield for children.

Days and Hours of Operation

The program will run in the seven days of the week for ten hours on week days and 6 hours on weekends. The hours will be determined by asking the parents about the working hours and the availability of children in the program centers.

Early Childhood Programs Curriculum, Activities Offered

A quality early childhood program is determined by various factors which include a stable and professional teaching workforce, effective leadership, comprehensive partnership activities with parents, continuous system improvement and a sustainable set of funding mechanism (Anderson et. Al., 2003). Also, the program should be age-appropriate and applying the various theories of development. In this case, the program has to introduce the children to the American culture and language without making them lose their cultural and language identity.

A “Learn Everyday Curriculum” will be applied in the program. A “learn everyday curriculum” is comprehensive with multiple activities such as math, language, science and social education as well as creative arts being incorporated. A multi-sensory and strengths-based approach will be used in the program with an aim to respect individual parent (and child) differences, honor the different cultures, and acknowledge that each of the families involved are equal partners in the program. In the program children development will take place through various concepts as described in different development theories such as taking initiative where they will make choices and plans, solve problems, take care of their personal needs. Also, the concept of social relations will be considered where children will be taught on relations with adults both amongst their community and with the majority population, conflict resolution, language, expression of personal feelings and taking part in personal routine. In the art and creative representation concept, children will be will be developed to have hand-eye coordination and small motor skills, as well as enhancing their imagination and creativity. Moreover, the concept of movement and music will be developed whereby children will explore and identify various sounds, develop rhythm and beats, fine motor skills and balancing development. Lastly, language and literacy skills will be developed through the listening and understanding of speech (both Hispanic and U.S English), use of vocabulary and complex speech patterns, reading and writing skills, and the use of letter names and sounds.

Standards of Practice for your proposed program

In childhood development programs, quality is the critical ingredient linked with outcomes. Various research based frameworks on how to evaluate different childhood programs for continued quality improvement have been put in place. Early Childhood Development programs that offer quality have the ability to increase cognitive and socio-emotional skills in the long-term. Most of the evaluation frameworks focus on: i) Access and Equity, and ii) Assessments and Monitoring of the Child’s Outcome.

Gilliam & Leiter (2003) emphasize on assessment of the program impact to identify the relationship between the program and its improvement on child’s functioning. According to Leung (2014) the best framework for education evaluation is the 32AS Framework which lays emphasis on accessibility, accountability, affordability, sustainability and social justice. The Early Years Learning Framework as developed by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (Australia) (2009) has also been widely used to evaluate ECD programs. The framework has 5 top principles which include secure and respectful relations, partnerships as a key element in ECD learning, high quality expectations, respect for diversity and continued learning.

Each of the frameworks used has their own pros and cons. Since this program is set up for a minority group, the Early Years Learning framework will work best to ensure high quality, respect for diversity among children and parents, strong partnerships with parents and a continued learning process.

Program Funding and Marketing

Various tools will be used to market the program to the various families residing within the farm area. Word of mouth and simple flyers or posters will be used to spread information in the neighbored to create attention on the existence of program. In the age of internet, social media and online daycare advertising sites are vital marketing tools for this program. The program will also have a website where central activities will be advertised in addition to publishing advertising in the local dailies. In advertising the program, the challenge of language barrier may arise when communicating to the Hispanic communities. Strained interpersonal relations may also occur.

Sources of funding for the program will include federal funding sources and non-federal funding sources. Federal sources will include the Child Care and Development Block Grant (the Child Care Development Fund), Early Head Start, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Social Services Block Grant among others. Non-federal sources will include the Dependent Care Assistance Plans (DCAP), Child tax and Dependent care Tax Credit (DTC) and the School Funding Formula and Pre-K (Elango et al., 2015).

Leadership and Advocacy

A democratic leadership style will be the most appropriate leadership style for decision making and direction in the organization. Since leaders in early childhood education have a profound love for children, excellent skills in patience, organization and flexibility is vital (Beane, 2016). Also, the leader will embrace diversity and communicate effectively to parents, children, the community and the teachers.

Since the program is entirely aimed at supporting Hispanic minority children in a local set up, there are various opportunities in leadership and advocacy. For instance, the program is a good opportunity to advocate for minority rights not only in childhood education but in higher education. Leaders in the organization will have a chance to promote a cohesive interaction between the Hispanic minority and the majority.

The organization will work closely with families, volunteers, and the community in a plan that will start with establishment of networks and connections. In this interaction the program will register families and community members who would like to be part of the teaching and non-teaching staff. Also, corporate social responsibility activities such as tree planting and activities will often be undertaken to promote social cohesion among families.

References

Anderson, L. M., Shinn, C., Fullilove, M. T., Scrimshaw, S. C., Fielding, J. E., Normand, J.,. & Task Force on Community Preventive Services. (2003). The effectiveness of early childhood development programs: A systematic review. American journal of preventive medicine, 24(3), 32-46.

Beane, L. (2016). Advocacy leadership in early childhood: Educators’ perspectives. Retrieved from https://researchbank.acu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://scholar.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1660&context=theses

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (2009). Belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia.

Elango, S., García, J. L., Heckman, J. J., & Hojman, A. (2015). Early childhood education (No. w21766). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Gilliam, W. S., & Leiter, V. (2003). Evaluating early childhood programs: Improving quality and informing policy. Zero to Three, 23(6), 6-13.

Irwin, C. W., O’Dwyer, L., & Cook, K. D. (2014). Early Childhood Educator and Administrator Surveys on the Use of Assessments and Standards in Early Childhood Settings. REL 2014-019. Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands.

Leung, S. K. (2014). Evaluating the free early childhood education policies in Taiwan with the 3A2S framework. International Journal of Chinese Education, 3(2), 268-289.

Moinolmolki, N., Gaviria-Loaiza, J., & Han, M. (2016). Immigrant Families and Early Childhood Programs: Addressing the New Challenges of the 21st Century. In Family Involvement in Early Education and Child Care (pp. 117-142). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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