Steve Nash Foundation

To assist underserved children in their health, personal development, education and enjoyment of life.
Dec 30, 2014

Educare Arizona - Winter Update 2014

Learning at Educare Arizona!
Learning at Educare Arizona!

As the calendar year comes to a close, we want to thank you all for your continued support of Educare Arizona!  As parents of early learners ourselves, Steve and I know firsthand the importance of high-quality interactions for children's growing brains; these first five years comprise more neurological development than occurs at any other time in life.  Having age-appropriate and high-quality services, curriculum, activities, nutrition, and healthcare makes all the difference.

What makes the Educare model so special is that it takes the most up-to-date science and puts it back into the classroom for kids.  Using the work of leading researchers - including Educare's own national longitudinal study, which incorporates data gathered at each of Educare's twenty-one sites across the country under the leadership of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill - Educare constantly reports back to teachers, administrators, and executives as to how children are experiencing Educare and uses that feedback to adjust and improve upon the experience for each child.  Parents aren't left out of the process: as we learn how Educare is impacting parenting and parents' time with their children, that information, too, is put to work, through our highly-trained Family Support Specialists on site.

The exceptional work at Educare sites hasn't gone unnoticed: two weeks ago, eleven of our schools - including Educare Arizona - were recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families with grants to provide training and resources to their child care partners to radiate out the quality of their programs (see article below).  Educare is recognized as the premiere model in early learning, and we couldn't be more proud.

But the situation in Arizona remains dire: at the beginning of 2014, more than 6,300 children were awaiting child care assistance.  That's enough children to fill some hockey arenas.  Even with the small increase in funding that opened up the waitlist for the first time since 2011, there are still thousands of families who qualify for services but aren’t receiving them.  And Arizona is one of only two states still paying child care centers and homes at the year 2000 market rates, ranking us last in the nation.

So we still need your assist.  The programming and services available through Educare are proven to provide the support that ensure that at-risk babies, toddlers and preschoolers thrive.  Until funding is restored by the state, private dollars are needed to help these children grow up healthy, strong, and ready to contribute to the workforce and our community well-being.  We hope you'll consider staying involved in what we're doing in Arizona; while we know exactly the impacts and metrics of each dollar invested in Educare Arizona, your support is appreciated beyond measure.

With hopes for the most peaceful of winters, and a happy, healthy start to 2015!

Jenny, Steve and the Steve Nash Foundation

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Oct 17, 2014

Educare Arizona - Autumn Update 2014

The Three Little Pigs at Educare Arizona!
The Three Little Pigs at Educare Arizona!

Election season has turned up the volume on the early learning conversation -- more and more studies are pointing to the connection between quality early ed opportunities and high performing school districts and communities.  Educare Arizona is a perfect showroom for the impact on development -- as always, we'd love to have you visit!  If you can't get to Phoenix, remember that there are 20 operational schools in the Educare Learning Network (here's a map!), and all of them are proud to show you what they're up to.

This fall marks the beginning of our 4th school year at Educare Arizona, and we're fully enrolled at 191 infants, toddlers and preschoolers gracing us everyday with their attitudes of inquiry and indomitable energy.  For the first time, we have two full infant rooms, and our older children couldn't be more taken with these brand-new learners - a full continuum of ages at play, work, and wonder.

The adults at Educare Arizona are just as remarkable: through our partnership with Arizona State University, Educare is providing training and mentoring in the field of early childhood for new teachers about to enter the field.  This year, 28-30 degree canditates will be on-site, where four previous ASU students are now employed as teachers! 

Educare Arizona's wonderful programmatic partner, Southwest Human Development, works closely on our Child Development Associate program which provides Early Head Start and Head Start parents training in early childhood education, to afford them career opportunities in the field.  Since beginning in the 2012/2013 school year, 46 candidates have completed the program, with 37 now employed with a SWHD Head Start/Early Head Start program (including 17 right here at Educare Arizona!).  This year, another 40 candidates are registered, and we can't wait to see where it takes them. 

At the Steve Nash Foundation, we've raised over $2million for Educare Arizona, which we think is among the most critical of resources available to children and families.  Educare Arizona thrives with community support from people like you, and we are so proud to count you among those investing in children and communities with us.  Thank you for your continued assist . . . and don't forget to vote for kids this autumn!

Making a Splash at Educare Arizona!
Making a Splash at Educare Arizona!

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Apr 11, 2014

Educare Arizona - Spring Update 2014

Educare Arizona - Spring!
Educare Arizona - Spring!

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!

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