Conferencia de Recursos e Información para el Aprendizaje a Temprana Edad

April 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Varias agencias y el distrito escolar unificado de Los Ángeles participarán este sábado en la conferencia “De la Cuna a la Preparación para la Universidad” en el Centro de Aprendizaje Roybal en 1200 West Colton St. 9006 de 8-3pm.

El objetivo es para informar a familias con niños de 0-5 años de edad, a crear conciencia sobre la importancia del desarrollo de la infancia en relación a la preparación escolar y universitaria. Habrá una feria de recursos y servicios para los padres, estudiantes y la comunidad así como almuerzo gratis y regalos.

The Critical 0 to 5 Learning Years

April 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles resident and mother Gesele McGlothin enjoys her role as educator to her two children, ages five and one. Spending time talking, reading and singing has created a stronger bond with them, she said, explaining she wants her children to excel in school and “have better opportunities in life.”

According to McGlothin, she tries to make learning fun. “We go to parks, museums; we go to the zoo,” she said Monday during a panel discussion on the importance of early childhood education hosted by New America Media: Participants included early childhood experts, parents and ethnic media reporters who county officials hope will get the word out to parents — especially in immigrant and low-income communities of color—that how they engage with their children during the critical learning years of birth to age three is key to brain development.

Lea este artículo en Español: Del 0 al 5 Son los Años Críticos de Aprendizaje

There is a growing body of evidence that the experiences parents and caregivers provide during the first three years can make a major difference in a child’s future.

McGlothin told the audience she reads a lot to her 1-year old. “I ask him some questions as if he can answer me,” the African-American mother said, proudly adding that her 5-year-old reads at a second grade level because she did the same with him.

A fifteen-year investigative study found that early learning is more than just acquiring cognitive skills. The study, What More Has Been Learned? The Science of Early Childhood Development, looked at the scientific foundation for learning during a child’s first three years of life and concluded that early relationships, biology and environment are all significant.

We don’t have to have the “nature vs. nurture” debate because both are very significant, explained Barbara Andrade Dubransky, director of program development for First 5 LA.

Gesele McGlothin says she reads and sings to her children every day to improve their learning skills. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Gesele McGlothin says she reads and sings to her children every day to improve their learning skills. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

When parents talk, read and sing they are supporting the nurturing part, she said.

A child’s brain and early learning, however, can also be affected by problems at home, such as stress, domestic violence, mental health and/or poverty issues, she emphasized.

Joshua Lozano, 26, came to understand those problems first hand when his former partner’s drug use left him the sole custodian of his two children. The idea of educating a 5-year and 16-month-old alone was stressful and challenging, he said.

He knew, however, that his boys’ education was important and said with help from his parents he found ways to give them better educational experiences.

Lozano explained that he took time to research what was available, which led him to enrolling his oldest son in an early childhood program offered by the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) before starting kindergarten. His younger son will soon start an early starters home-based program, which Lozano said not only teaches the baby but the parent as well.

I spend as much time as possible with the boys, he told EGP.

In a recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California, 68% of Californians surveyed said attending preschool is very important, but 42% said affordability is a big issue.

Lozano and McGlothin said early childhood programs and reading materials can be expensive, and agreed that parents have to re-examine their priorities to find ways to pay for it.

Sometimes you have to give up something—like going out or shopping—to give your kids an education, McGlothin said.

There are about 800,000 children aged five and under in Los Angeles County. Of those, 47% of are children of immigrants, according to the panelists.

(EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

(EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Immigrants are usually reluctant to use professional childcare and instead “choose family or friends” to care for their children, Dr. Margaret Lynn Yonekura with LA Best Babies Network said.

“Parents feel like childcare places don’t love their children as much as a family member,” she told the audience. “[But] you have to think how language rich is that family member” engaging with your kid, she said.

There are many early education programs available in the county, through groups like First 5 L.A. Welcome Baby, Opening Doors-Abriendo Puertas, LA Best Babies network and Crystal Stairs, panelists said. Low-income families can apply for subsidies to help them pay for the programs through an Alternative Payment Program (APP) or access free services available through the L.A. Unified School District, they explained.

The Welcome Baby program, for example, offers personalized support and education from pregnancy until the baby reaches 9-months of age. Mothers get help with breastfeeding, doctor visits, health care coverage issues and other community services.

Crystal Stairs helps families from different income levels reach self-sufficiency by helping to find childcare, quality early learning and preschool, and teaches parents about advocacy to benefit childcare.

LAUSD programs, starting with the Early Education (for potty trained kids) to Extended Transitional Kinder (ages 4 and 5), and then kindergarten (5 and up) are considered a safety net for many little ones.

“Kids not only come to socialize but are also learning in these programs,” Martha Godinez, L.A. Unified’s attendance improvement program coordinator told EGP Tuesday.

This Saturday, LAUSD is partnering with other agencies to bring the “L.A. Unified Early Childhood Linkages to Wellness and Pupil Services” to the East Los Angeles community in the Roybal Learning Center from 8-3pm.

The objective is to “empower the parents” and show them they can teach their kids at an early age and don’t have wait until they go to school, Godinez said.

They also want to show parents methods in their native language they can use to teach their children, which doesn’t have to take place in a public setting, Ezequiel de la Torre, specialist with LAUSD’s early childhood linkage to wellness program.

He explained that sometimes parents are unaware of the services LAUSD provides and they want to keep them updated.

“This is very important for the children’s academic success,” he said.


Twitter @jackiereporter

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