Leadership Spotlight: Early Childhood Development

Two-year-old Nevaeh Trong (pictured, far right) is making significant progress. She is gaining language skills and becoming more expressive. She is starting to enjoy books.

That’s exactly what her mother, Sabrina Beagle (pictured, center), was hoping for when she enrolled in the Parent-Child Home Program at Community Health Programs, her local health center. 

Nevaeh and Sabrina are just two of dozens of participants in this intensive, two-year program funded by Berkshire Taconic that aims to increase school readiness among young children from families who face multiple obstacles to educational and economic success, such as poverty, low literacy, limited education and language barriers.

Twice a week, CHP staffer Katie Hayes (pictured, far left) visits Nevaeh and Sabrina in their home to model behaviors that are enhancing Nevaeh’s development and encouraging Sabrina to embrace her role as her child’s first teacher.  

“I see many families that are isolated and have limited resources, including finances and transportation,” Katie says. “The program gives families more connections with their community and helps them and their children gain important skills.”

That assertion holds true. In February, a longitudinal study that is just the latest in a long line of independent research on the Parent-Child Home Program showed that graduates in King County, Wash., are starting kindergarten better prepared, with higher levels of English proficiency, than their peers. By third grade, graduates of the program are testing higher in reading and math than non-graduates.

Across the country, PCHP serves families who are among the most vulnerable. Over 80 percent have annual incomes under $25,000. Fifty percent are single parent households and 40 percent are non-English speaking households. The vision of this pioneering, 50-year-old program is that every child enters school ready to succeed because every parent has the knowledge and resources to build school readiness where it starts: the home.

Berkshire Taconic is proud to partner with our generous donors in supporting the Parent-Child Home Program, part of our Early Childhood Development initiative underway around the region. To learn more, please contact Program Director Maeve O’Dea by email or at 413.229.0370.