Educare Arizona entered its third full school year this past autumn, with 183 students - 16 (thriving) infants, 48 toddlers, and 119 preschool children. With the generous support of donors like you, we've added a Math & Science Big Building Area in the Birth to Five Courtyard. The area is used daily, for the kind of integrated science and learning that high-quality early learning offers — through creative free play and structured lessons, the blocks, arches, wheelbarrows, and chutes provide opportunities for our students to explore the ups and downs and ins and outs of their physical world. The items purchased for the permanent installation are beautifully crafted, adding natural elements to the outdoor space that is such a focus of the school.Inside and out, Educare Arizona has continued to develop and respond to community needs. Last month, we welcomed new CEO John Scola to Educare Arizona, and are excited that he shares our passion for early childhood’s role in community building — a passion that has significant legs to stand on. A major national commission sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently announced their recommendations for building a healthier America — and investing more in high-quality early childhood is their first priority. What's more, the commission spotlighted the great work Educare is doing on this front: multiple references to Educare in the Commission's executive summary and full report can be found in the right-hand column of the page linked here: http://www.rwjf.org/en/research-publications/find-rwjf-research/2014/01/recommendations-from-the-rwjf-commission-to-build-a-healthier-am.html. In addition, a quick, 2-minute video the Commission produced features Educare Washington DC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A0VuPnMf-Y. Educare’s national leadership on early childhood education has also lead to the Educare Learning Network (ELN) being asked to contribute our learning on the impact of expanding Early Head Start to promote improvement of community healthcare to meet the needs of vulnerable children (and the communities in which they live). ELN’s sedulous attention to data collection, analysis and implementation has also lead Head Start and the Department of Health and Human Services to reach out to ELN to host workshops on data utilization, to contribute to improvement of practice nationally. All of this is a testament to all of the good work being done, at Educare Arizona, and, together, throughout the coast-to-coast network of Educare schools, and it couldn’t happen without supporters like you - thank you!
"Educare Arizona is an opportunity to really grow our children into healthy, strong, confident, intelligent students that can then go on and thrive and follow their dreams and therefore improve our workforce, our economy and our communities." - Steve Nash, President, the Steve Nash Foundation, Two-Time NBA MVP
Steve sums it up well! Since opening its doors in 2011, Educare Arizona has been a growing voice in the early childhood education discussion: more than a high-quality preschool for 191 children in Arizona, Educare Arizona provides critical teacher training, policy advocacy, and expertise in a field recognized for its vital role in community and economic growth.
Among the latest developments at Educare Arizona:
Come in for a tour of Educare Arizona, and you'll be immediately struck by the beautiful learning environment - some photos of our building are included here, but Educare Arizona is more than its wrapper. It's the voices of kids as they come into their own, nurtured by highest-quality programs, guidance, and instruction; it's the sight of their creativity - whether in song, paint or play; it's the growing engagement of parents as they get the resources they need to foster learning and development with their kids; it's a catalyst for change. Educare Arizona is changing the way we perceive of the first five years of life and learning.
We so appreciate your support, and hope you'll continue to grow health in kids with us -- you'll be glad you did!
Hot off the heels of the Steve Nash Foundation Showdown NYC, a benefit for Educare Arizona, we're gearing up for a hot time in Phoenix, showing interested folks from around the country what this model of excellence looks like, how it operates, and what it could mean to other communities in the U.S.
And what's the latest at Educare Arizona?
This past school year, the classrooms, Balsz Educare Arizona Center for Health, hallways, and courtyard have been utilized to their fullest with our exceptional programmatic leadership maximizing resources to ensure best practices and outstanding outcomes. Some updates:
Spring has sprung at Educare Arizona!
I say this over and over: I love spending time at Educare Arizona. And last week was no exception, as we hosted Educare philanthropists, leaders, teachers and staff from across the Educare Learning Network, from Washington (DC) to (Seattle) Washington, in Phoenix. Welcoming such a diverse and inspiring group was another highlight in our path here. With speakers like Adele Diamond, food by the amazing Vincent (and his family), and policy updates and strategy sessions lead by Kris Perry at the First Five Years Fund and more experts from the Network, the week flew by.
At a time when budget cuts are slashing opportunities away from children that need them most, Educare Arizona stands as a model of what early childhood education and experience can and should look like. All children can thrive in environments that understand the physical, social and emotional needs of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. All children should have access to safe, beautiful, purposeful spaces to explore, learn, grown and be.
Spring's spirit and colors have emerged on the walls and throughout the hallways of Educare Arizona. In addition to the marvelous creations the kids have worked up (check out their "Art-chitecture" art project below), our new "Faces of Educare" photo exhibit - made possible by a generous grant from a local family - tells the story of the joy, pride, and sense of accomplishment Educare kids feel. As much as we see it in their expressions, Steve and I feel it for the many supporters out there that have made Educare Arizona a reality, and hope you feel it, too: joy, pride, and accomplishment. You did this.
Take a look at the photos below, and please come see in person what you've helped to create. Thank you for your support, and for all you do. It matters.
With hopes for a peaceful spring,
Jenny (& Steve, from Orlando)
Another school year at Educare Arizona!
I think everyone's job should include a performance of I Don't Know Why She Swallowed That Fly, sung and acted out in front of sets the kids made themselves, in the middle of a beautiful courtyard designed specifically for young learners. More importantly, I think everyone under the age of five should get the opportunity to sing, dance and play in a purposeful space, guided by highly trained teachers, in a well-structured day that includes great nutrition, kindness, and quality care.
As I spend more time around the staff, teachers, children and parents at Educare Arizona, the connection between place, program and policy is ever-present, and so meaningful: as the country braces for cuts to spending on social programs, Arizona has already eliminated the childcare subsidy, leaving children of low-income parents without the best resources to start their lives as learners. Educare Arizona fills a critical need, and we are proud to have played a role in creating what will be a difference-maker in Arizona and beyond for generations to come.
Join us! And thank you for caring about children.
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