Funders and nonprofit organizations working in early education gathered for a joint discussion of trends, challenges, and solutions.
Like last May's successful "Let's Talk About Health" program, this program was a new, improved version of MPC's past "Meet the Funders" programs. It is MPC's belief that fostering this type of dialogue among funders and nonprofit organizations helps strengthen the impact of philanthropy in Maine and can lead to better outcomes.
The focus for Let's Talk About Early Education was education for ages 0 - 8.
The program opened with a brief introduction to an education strategy map, outlining how early education fits into a larger education continuum. The funders in the room briefly introduced themselves and their funding interest in early education. Next, attendees broke into two rounds of world cafe-format table discussions.
Table discussions were focused on the following topics:
- Parent, family and caregiver engagement and support
- Accessibility and availability of quality early education opportunities (across diverse geographies)
- Consistent measures for quality, school readiness & reading proficiency
- Building public awareness & political will for the importance of early education
- Early identification and supports for students who are struggling (e.g. chronic absenteeism, children with disabilities)
- Cultural awareness and competency in early education settings
- Enhancing the proficiency of professionals (i.e. provider, teacher, caregiver) in teaching & supporting reading and engaged learning
- Building strong readers and literacy-rich environments in home and community settings Increasing early reading
- Strategy Map-- School Readiness and Early Education - A PDF of the strategy map Barbara introduced at the event.
This event is sponsored by the Sam L. Cohen Foundation and co-sponsored by the Early Childhood Funders Group. Thank you to our sponsors!
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Drocpsu