Education for Communities, Communities for Education Who is the Café Institute? (Community Assets for Education)
Café’s capacity building framework brings together research, shifts in policy and practice by: Building on the strength-based, capacity building elements of asset-based community development (ABCD) (Kretzmann and McKnight, 2003). Acknowledging the consolidated research supporting the positive impact of family, school and community partnerships on learning outcomes. (J. Epstein, 2009) Integrating lessons learned from influential educational learning theory supporting the importance of community building (ie. systems ecological theory, social constructivism and social motivation). Incorporating the principles of adult learning and attention to Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES) framework within a format that gives adults the opportunity to build their own capacity. Recognizing a shift in local and provincial context toward a collective and shared responsibility to support our children to reach their full potential. a dedicated community of educators with a vision of highly engaged communities working together to support learning. Café Institute is: We recognize that: the future of a healthy society is built on a foundation of healthy children – and we all have a part to play! an asset-based, ‘glass half-full’ orientation highlights a communities unlimited pathways to support children. We recognize that: the future of a healthy society is built on a foundation of healthy children – and we all have a part to play! an asset-based, ‘glass half-full’ orientation highlights a communities unlimited pathways to support children.
Education for Communities, Communities for Education How are children in our community currently doing? How are we responding?
The good news is that our community is responding! Across Calgary and area, individuals, associations and institutions are coming together in new ways to make a difference – and we can all be a part of this... Calgary’s Early Development Instrument (EDI) baseline results for kindergarten children in five developmental domains: Up to 1/3 of our children are struggling in at least one area of development… In Alberta… Source: Early Child Development Mapping Project (ECMap), April 2014
Education for Communities, Communities for Education What does this collective response look like?
Across Alberta and in Calgary Individuals are taking steps to support children in all of their roles: family, community, and professional lives. 12 early childhood city coalitions established through Alberta’s EC Map project are working at the community level to build awareness and support children. The First 2000 Days Early Childhood Network incubated by Calgary Reads and Upstart of the United Way, is as a collective response to bring together the coalitions, and now countless individuals, communities, agencies and institutions that care about our children. Organizations such as our post-secondary institutions, Alberta Family Wellness, the Norlien Foundation, Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research and Harvard Centre for the Developing Child are working to share and disseminate emerging research on the developing brain and associated best practice. Café is doing our part in the collaboration efforts with Calgary and area coalitions and First 2000 Days Network to contribute to the collective capacity building efforts of dedicated individuals and groups with a shared interest in supporting children. Part of this work has been to collaborate with community organizations to adapt Café’s Parent Café conversations for parents and caregivers to support young children. A movement is brewing in support of children …
Education for Communities, Communities for Education What do we now know about the early years that needs to be shared?
What we now know… The foundation for a healthy brain is built in the early years of a child’s life, with lifelong impacts on learning, behavior and health. Brains are built from the bottom up – it is easiest and most effective to get this right the first time. Ongoing stress in young children can derail healthy development. “Serve and return” interactions between children and caregivers are essential building blocks for brain development. A child’s experiences will impact how their brain is built! Healthy relationships, supportive environments, and opportunities to play and learn are fundamental for healthy development. Children can not reach their potential on their own; they need the support of family, community and society as a whole. How can we share and act on these key messages and make a difference for children?
Education for Communities, Communities for Education Now that’s a great reason for a conversation! What is Parent Café: The Early Years? It all begins with a conversation … * Born, P. (2008) Community Conversations
Parent Café: the Early Years is… strengthened awareness of “the core story” and the early years opportunities. fostering relationships, connections and mutual support by bringing people together in dialogue. validating the current knowledge and capacity of parents and caregivers by creating a space for sharing of successes and challenges. highlighting and sharing available resources and supports. learning together to support capacity building that inspires further learning and action. A resource for hosting strength-based, café-style conversations opening the door to… Our goal is to: Build awareness and capacity of parents and caregivers in support of early childhood development. Our goal is to: Build awareness and capacity of parents and caregivers in support of early childhood development.
Education for Communities, Communities for Education What does the Early Years conversation café resource offer?
Parent Café Early Years offers a series of conversation starters for sparking dialogue among parents and caregivers. Accompanying resources and information to share with parents are provided. Some sample questions… Education for Communities, Communities for Education What are some ways you are supporting your child’s development? How do you play and have fun with your child? Why is play important? How do you play and have fun with your child? Why is play important? Why are the early years so important? What are your strengths as a parent? How do you share these strengths with your child, with other children? What kind of environment and relationships support healthy brain development? Who are the people, places or programs in your community that can help support your child?
Education for Communities, Communities for Education Why a conversation café format for supporting the early years?
A conversation café format… Research and experience tells us: parents are their child’s “first and most important teacher.” outcomes improve when families, communities, agencies and institutions work together. there are untapped strengths and assets inherent in families and community that can support children. meaningful conversation around shared issues can be an opportunity to build community – a contributing factor for resilience in children. parents today can be overwhelmed by the vast amount of available information and resources. success builds on success. incorporates developments in theory and practice to provide a space for parents and caregivers to: talk together about shared experiences and knowledge. validate current capacity to support their child. recognize and build their own strengths and assets to support learning. connect and build the relationships inherent in social capital, an important factor for healthy development and success in learning. identify locally available resources and supports. talk together about shared experiences and knowledge. validate current capacity to support their child. recognize and build their own strengths and assets to support learning. connect and build the relationships inherent in social capital, an important factor for healthy development and success in learning. identify locally available resources and supports.
Education for Communities, Communities for Education What have we learned from our Parent Café: Early Years pilot with Ready4Learning?
Café’s pilot: 3 sessions, a fourth was added at the request of parents. Conversations were held at a local daycare starting with a family dinner and child care provided. 18 parents and several agency representatives participated in the conversations. Conversation and information shared in large group format with one host/facilitator. The core story was presented through video, with the conversation starters then used as a basis for discussion incorporating questions from: The Early Years Opportunity and Building a Strong Foundation. Parent Café conversations are a flexible resource ready to be adapted for different applications. The Ready4Learning team chose this format: Some feedback: Parents were overwhelmingly positive about finding the conversations helpful, wanting further conversations and recommending them to others. Many identified new actions they had taken with their child since participating in the conversations. Another agency found the conversation resource helpful with 1:1 in-home support for parents!
Education for Communities, Communities for Education What information did parents find most helpful from their experience with Early Years conversations at Ready4Learning?
What parents learned and found most helpful from participating in Parent Café: the Early Years… Further learnings… Understanding kids have stress (8); strategies to help with stress (2) Serve and return (7) Conversation format in a parent community context offered validation and affirmation, hearing from other parents with similar experiences (5) Air traffic control (2) Importance of play (2) Positive brain development; the core story video Parenting strategies (i.e. remembering to talk with not at (3), don’t use “don’t” (2), eye contact, give your child undivided attention (2), count to 10 to allow child to process) 5 areas of development (3)
Education for Communities, Communities for Education What did parents report they had done differently after their participation in the Early Years café conversations?
Parents and caregivers applying their learning… Taking action… More time actually “listening”/ giving undivided attention (8) Using breathing to calm tantrums and regulate emotion (for myself and child) (6) Awareness when the kids are stressed and helping to de-stress and reduce stress (3) More interaction/play/serve and return (5) More dedicated playtime (2) Allowing more input, letting them have their voice, “its your turn next” (2) Working to talk and speak WITH (2) Watching my tone of voice (2) General awareness with interactions – I focus on how I interact, from play to speaking and listening. Thinking about SPICE Giving more time for child to process and respond
Education for Communities, Communities for Education What were the reflections from the Ready4Learning team about using the Early Years conversation resource?
Gathering input Parents seemed more inspired to act than they had been following previous programs, where similar information was “sprinkled” into the content. Parents expressed feelings of opportunity rather than being overwhelmed with the information. Delivering the information to parents of younger children seemed significant. Practical resources and ideas for action were very well received. Continue to incorporate parents’ questions and ideas as Café further develops resources and materials. Helping parents make the connection between brain development and their opportunities to support their child may be best achieved by showing the core story video in segments with relevant accompanying questions. Parents are asking for more! While there is a feeling of wanting to catch this enthusiasm, with the Parent Café goal to “light the fire” and inspire parents to engage in further opportunities, Ready 4 Learning will continue with 3-4 session model. Early Years conversations series should be offered in other early care and learning centres, with the goal of building on the success of these first conversations. Ready 4 Learning’s team reflects on the early years conversations…
Education for Communities, Communities for Education What are next steps for sharing the Parent Café: the Early Years resources and learnings?
Café committed to: continuing our pilot by offering an orientation of the resources to a cohort of interested conversation hosts/facilitators in June 2014. providing an opportunity for ongoing dialogue and sharing of experiences among these hosts for monitoring and learning together to further refine the conversation resources. continuing to consolidate suggested quality resources and supports for parents/caregivers and hosts. developing additional themes, with “Supporting Early Literacy” currently underway. exploring an avenue to continue to share ideas and resources among those hosting conversation groups (eg. First 2000 or Early Years Parent Café Facebook) Sharing the Parent Café Early Years resource with others by:
More Early Years Parent Café to come… Building a Strong Foundation Supporting Early Literacy coming soon! Supporting Early Literacy coming soon! The Early Years Opportunity Physical Health and Wellness coming soon! Physical Health and Wellness coming soon! More on Social and Emotional Development coming soon! More on Social and Emotional Development coming soon! Education for Communities, Communities for Education
Join the conversation – Host your own Early Years conversation café’s! Café invites you to explore and use our resources in a way that works for you or your organization and the parents you hope to host. Our conversation starters, orientation sessions, reference materials and ongoing support for Parent Café conversation hosts are designed to support your work and passion. In return, Café asks that you share your learnings and experiences when using these resources within your organization and community. Do you see using these resources in your work and/or community? What format may work best for parents or caregivers in your community?
Are these materials aligned with your goals for your work and/or your community? How could this conversation resource support the parents/caregivers in your work/community? What unique strengths would you/your organization bring to the Early Years conversation cafés? What group of parents/caregivers would you/your organization like to host in conversation? How are you willing to share your experiences and learning to contribute to further conversations? Exploring the Early Years conversation opportunity in your work/community… Moving forward… What format would work best in your organization/com munity? 1:1 conversations Small group cafés Integrated within current resources Larger World Café style event Informal groups Formal groups and programs What format would work best in your organization/com munity? 1:1 conversations Small group cafés Integrated within current resources Larger World Café style event Informal groups Formal groups and programs www.cafeinstitute.org firstname.lastname@example.org 403-287-0611