What a week! This Update is coming to you live from Chicago, IL, where I've been attending the Educare Learning Network annual meeting this week. Hundreds of practitioners, stakeholders, funders, researchers, and policy experts came together to celebrate incredible accomplishments at Educare's 21 schools across the country.* The take-aways were big, and can be summed up like this: longitudinal research over 9 years has yielded consistent findings that Educare schools prepare early learners for success with strong classroom quality.**
Walking into an Educare school is like no other experience: the building serves as a wrapper to highest-quality practice, but what a wrapper it is. Today was my first time in Educare West DuPage; while it shared some characteristics of Educare Arizona, it was in a completely suburban neighbourhood. It was stunning. Yet it underscored that poverty exists even where we don't see it, even where we don't expect it. It's up to us to listen, look, and support all members of our community. Doing so enriches all of our neighbors, big and small.
In light of everything happening right now in Baltimore, it's worth remembering that Educare started in large part in response to the heavy violence of Chicago's southside Robert Taylor Homes in the '90's. There, amidst regular gun deaths, hundreds of infants, toddlers and preschoolers needed a quality preschool to address the many risk factors for their success -- including a safe, violence-free zone in which to learn. In fact, an interior courtyard -- that exists today -- provided the only reliably safe outside play area in the community. When we designed Educare Arizona, we included our courtyard to pay hommage to the rich history of Educare's beginnings.
For the past eight years, our annual Steve Nash Foundation Showdown has supported Educare Arizona, and the kids and families served there. This year, we're inviting someone to join Steve and his NBA and professional soccer friends on the pitch with us on June 24th -- check out prizeo.com/SteveNash for your chance to win a trip for two to New York City, some one-on-one time with our favorite NBA MVP, and the chance to play with some of the world's best athletes in a soccer game you'll never forget!
As the Steve Nash Foundation celebrates 10 years of assists for kids, we appreciate all those that have been with us on the journey -- through GlobalGiving, you've helped build Educare Arizona into a place that reaches deep into the beginnings of the early childhood education movement, and looks forward to excellence and access for all kids. Thank you for helping us to grow health in kids!
With hopes for a peaceful spring,
*How many?? The Educare Learning Network is coast to coast, with schools in Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, Milwaukee, Chicago, West DuPage (our hosts this week), Kansas City, Tulsa (three schools), Winnebago, Oklahoma City, Omaha (two schools), New Orleans, Atlanta, Lincoln, Miami, Central Maine, and Washington, D.C., and Educare of Silicon Valley slated to open later this year. Want to visit your local school, or travel to see another? Visit educareschools.org for contact info and more . . . .
** You can read the research here.
Grow! at Educare West DuPage
Weaving Art and Learning
Play With Steve!