- Play and Learn Groups continued to provide socialization experiences to families receiving home visits. Play and Learn Groups have been held in the communities where families live and are in places where families access services. A total of 356 children were served by the Play and Learn Groups for FY2020. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, virtual Play and Learn groups were provided, starting in July 2020, to families that had been attending in person groups prior to COVID.
The Ingham Family Coalition is made up of parents, grandparents, caregivers, and guardians of young children ages birth to 12. With a focus of improving the lives of young children, families share feedback with agencies that support them and their families and advocate for those same agencies as well as their children. In achieving this goal, the Ingham Family Coalition has for the past two years worked closely with local parent groups, community organizations, and agencies including the Ingham Kinship Support Group, Ingham Local Leadership Group, and CACS Head Start. Also, the Family Coalition maintains the Parent Resource Guide, which has been the most utilized resource on the Ingham GSC website over the last several years. In Fall 2020, the Parent Liaison became a Certified Alliance Trainer in the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework. Previously, the 5 Protective Factors were already incorporated into Family Coalition meetings and monthly GSC meetings. Currently, the Family Coalition meets 1-3 times each month and continues to focus on the 5 Protective Factors. The Ingham Local Leadership Group (LLG) is made up of parents of young children ages birth to 5. With a focus of improving home visiting programs and services for families, parents share feedback with home visiting programs that support them and their families and advocate for continued and increased funding of those programs. As a result of parent input, the Ingham LLG holds a parent panel event each year where parents also share their experiences with home visiting programs and services. Through Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) projects, the Ingham LLG has been able to provide shared professional development trainings on various topics for home visitors across the 13 Home Visiting Programs in Ingham County. For the past few years, the Ingham LLG has also served as the advisory body for one those home visiting programs-Great Parents Great Start (GPGS). Currently, the LLG meets one time each month.
- In Summer 2020 Ingham LLG and GSC conducted a Home Visiting Needs Assessment in conjunction with MPHI (Michigan Public Health Institute). There are 13 Home Visiting Programs in Ingham County with 298 families enrolled at that time, yet 2,844 families are in need of Home Visiting services. Families with children ages birth to three are well served. Children over age 3 until age 5 need more services. Mental health services for ages birth through five is another gap. All programs serve Lansing, but there is still unmet need and there are fewer services available to out county (rural) areas. Ingham County has need and capacity to expand evidence-based home visiting. The data and community input showed Ingham County would benefit greatly from program expansion. In May 2021, Great Parents, Great Start was notified by MDHHS that they would receive funding to expand to serve children referred by the child welfare system. Funding will continue until at least September 2022, and potentially longer.
Early Childhood Education
The Ingham Early Learning Calendar and Family Literacy Calendar for K-1 are being used to promote school readiness and early literacy development throughout the Ingham ISD service area. The Calendars are being distributed through Capital Area District library to any family who requests, and local school districts continue to purchase Calendars for distribution to families in their district. WKAR filmed and produced short video clips, or Interstitials, that feature a “How to use the Calendar” episode, as well as several episodes of local families modeling activities in the Calendars. The Interstitials are being aired on PBS Kids 24/7 and can be found at https://video.wkar.org/show/in-your-community/collections/parenting-tips-calendar/. As a next step to the Calendars, Ingham GSC is offering free access to ReadyRosie to all families in the Ingham ISD area who have a child from birth to age 3 through a grant received from Capital Area United Way. ReadyRosie is an early learning resource that uses the power of mobile technology and video modeling to support parents in their child’s school readiness and early elementary success. Families can self-register for ReadyRosie with their Ingham zip code at https://app.readyrosie.com/en/register_by_zipcode. As of mid-April 2021, 924 families have joined ReadyRosie.
- Through the grant received from Capital Area United Way, Ingham GSC is working with four non-profit partners (Islamic Society of Greater Lansing, Refugee Development Center, South Lansing Ministries, and WKAR) to provide literacy education and support to families using the Scholastic Engaging Families in Children’s Literacy Development toolkit. The Ingham Great Start Family Coalition applied for and received Trusted Advisors grant funding to purchase books in diverse languages for the non-profit partners to distribute to participating families to build their home libraries. Through the Trusted Advisors funding, a video of diverse local families engaging in literacy activities and narrated in several languages was created as an additional tool for the partners to use in the programs they provide. To date, nearly 1000 individuals (children, parents, caregivers) have participated in literacy programs through workshops, home visits, and playgroup since the inception of the grant in July 2019.
The inghampreschool.org centralized, online system has been in use since 2014 to provide parents the opportunity to fill out one application to be considered for tuition-free preschool placement through Head Start and GSRP. The system also connects families who are not eligible for these programs to tuition programs and other early learning options. Data regarding the status of children’s enrollments (enrolled, pending enrollment, waiting list, not eligible) helps to identify communities to focus outreach and recruitment efforts. While down slightly compared to the previous year, over 3700 applications were submitted for the 2020 – 2021 school year.
- Through the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) consortium, ? Ingham ISD has been able to provide virtual trainings for preschool programs in the service area. The virtual trainings have occurred both live and pre-recorded, despite school closures and pandemic challenges. The transition to this format has not only ensured that district staff can continue to receive high quality professional development, but it allows for greater flexibility in when/where trainings can occur. Training spots are available to consortium members first, and available seats are then opened to the community. Trainings have included: ?Preschool Curriculum Trainings (such as Creative Curriculum, Connect4Learning, and/or HighScope Curriculum), ?Handle with Care-Crisis Intervention, GSRP 101, Positive Behavior Support Interventions (PBIS) in the Preschool Classroom, ?Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), Early Literacy and Math Essentials, Self-Care for Educators. In addition to this, year-round Professional Learning Communities and book clubs have been established and are facilitated by Ingham ISD Early Childhood Specialists.
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