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06/04/18

Children’s Village Recognized as Exemplary for High-Quality Inclusive Practices

At the Celebrating a Community of Inclusion event, (left) Zaina Cahill, Children’s Village Early Childhood and Learning Lab Director, who served as a panelist, poses with moderator, Johanna Morales, Education Manager, Philadelphia Head Start Partnership (PHMC).

At the Celebrating a Community of Inclusion event, (left) Zaina Cahill, Children’s Village Early Childhood and Learning Lab Director, who served as a panelist, poses with moderator, Johanna Morales, Education Manager, Philadelphia Head Start Partnership (PHMC).

Twenty-four percent of toddlers and preschoolers at Children’s Village confront behavioral and developmental challenges.  To best respond, our Special Needs and Family Support Program (SNFSP) provides comprehensive support to children, families, and teachers.  Additionally, 74 percent of all of our students are learning English and 87 percent are from low-income families.  Our commitment to diverse learners was recently recognized as exemplary; the Early Childhood Action Collective  at Public Health Management Corporation  (PHMC) named Children’s Village as one of eight Philadelphia programs demonstrating high-quality inclusive practices.  PHMC announced the finalists at its April 26 Celebrating a Community of Inclusion event.

At the event, Zaina Cahill, Early Childhood and Learning Lab Director, served on the Early Care and Education Program panel that discussed the successes and challenges of inclusion.  Zaina underscored the key role of our highly trained educators, who teach in mixed-age classrooms and are skilled at providing individualized instruction.

Zaina also shared facets of our SNFSP, which utilizes the expertise of a consulting psychologist, Barbara Wolf, Ph.D. Dr. Wolf identifies toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age students with special needs.  Equally important, she also helps families access and understand early intervention and mental health services.  Dr. Wolf provides teachers with strategies and guidance to address behavioral or developmental concerns for specific children.  At the heart of SNFSP is our bilingual/bicultural Family Partnership team.  Respecting families as their child’s first teacher, this team reduces cultural and language barriers, builds trust, and establishes meaningful two-way communication to help families address their children’s developmental and behavioral concerns.

Providing such comprehensive services carries significant financial costs to Children’s Village, and we are grateful for a grant awarded by The Pew Charitable Trusts to help support the SNFSP. This funding is vital to Children’s Village’s ability to respond to our growing population of special needs children.

“We truly appreciate the recognition form the Early Childhood Action Collective.  I believe this is also an opportunity to amplify our voice as advocates to legislators, policy makers, and others for the necessary funding and resources to ensure real inclusion can happen in early care and education programs,” says Mary Graham, Executive Director, Children’s Village.  “Children’s Village staff knows firsthand the challenges and opportunities presented when a program is fully inclusive.  Yet we also are keenly aware that it takes even more than qualified, knowledgeable, and intentional staff for this to become a reality.  It takes significant funding and seamless coordination between the Early Childhood and Early Intervention systems,” says Mary.

To learn more about the Early Childhood Action Collective (ECAC), visit http://www.ecactioncollective.org   As part of the ECAC’s Supporting Every Young Child initiative, ECAC is building a searchable resource bank of inclusion practices. You can help build this interactive website by completing a 5-minute survey. http://bit.ly/2oKB0zg

Children’s Village has been named one of eight Philadelphia exemplary programs for demonstrating high-quality inclusive practices.

Children’s Village has been named one of eight Philadelphia exemplary programs for demonstrating high-quality inclusive practices.

 

 
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