Preparing Spanish-speaking children with superior dual language education.

Growing Together

Birth-to3Creciendo Juntos/Growing Together is a hands-on, experiential parent education program where parent and infant/toddler attend together. The approach is rooted in the Popular Education model so that parents from varying backgrounds are empowered to fully participate. Topics include: the use of routines and rituals; safe and stimulating environments; healthy food; cognitive development; language and literacy; attachment and building trust; and music and movement. The gathering space is designed as a home like setting, with sofas and rugs in the living space, a kitchen with cabinets filled with measuring cups, spoons, spatulas, pots and pans, baskets of books around the room, spaces for quiet interaction, and other practical materials from the typical home.
Creciendo Juntos/Growing Together is presented in the child’s home language while introducing culturally appropriate experiences and activities that can be easily duplicated at home. Each session focuses on a different area of development and incorporates the theme of “parents as a child’s first teacher, the home as the first classroom”. Read, sing, play, and talk is the mantra for each session. Experienced, bilingual, early childhood parent educators facilitate sessions and model interactions that encourage healthy physical, social/emotional, cognitive and language development. Time is allocated for children and parents to explore the environment and practice developmentally appropriate interactions. The Parent Educators are available for consultation and questions throughout each session. Social media will be used as a follow up each week. Parents will receive a text message on their phones, suggesting a new activity to try at home or a tip about healthy development that was shared in the previous session. Cresciendo Juntos/Growing Together empowers parents to play an active role in their child’s school readiness and beyond.

Attendees:
A mix of current & alumni parents and parents who are new to the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool community. A parent attends with their child who is between 2 and 36 months.  From January – March the classes are for parents with children ages 2- 18 month. From February – April, we’ll have a class for parents with children ages 19-35 months. Each class includes 12 parents with their babies.

When:
90 minutes, once a week for 10 weeks.  There is a morning session and an afternoon session, allowing us to serve double the number of parents.

 
Where:
At Charlotte Bilingual Preschool in El Nido – a room we’ve long imagined that our recent relocation made a reality.  It is set up like a home – a big rug with couches, a kitchen area, books all around, quiet corners for interaction, home furniture, etc.

 
Rationale:
Learning and development begins before birth, with parents as their child’s first teachers.  While our preschool program is incredibly important, the sooner we can begin supporting parents and children, the more successful this support will be.  We built a program to fit the needs of our families based on other programs (Parents as Teachers, Nurse Family Partnership, Abriendo Puertas) and current research.
Having a young child can be very isolating, so one key focus of our class is to build community among parents. This community building is also the building of social capital, critical for mental health and socio-economic mobility.  We also wanted the material delivered in a way that allows for easy implementation at home.  This format provides hands on experiences that support a child’s development and illustrates for parents ways to encourage growth at home.