Yesterday, the Partnership hosted community leaders and volunteers for another Early Childhood Bus Tour. This event allows us to invite participants to learn more about our work throughout Durham and view the community through the lens of early childhood.
We kicked off the event by asking attendees to build Blast-Off to Kindergarten Kits, which is a key part of the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative and one of many volunteer opportunities here at the Partnership. After introductions and kit-building, attendees joined us as we traveled to Healthy Families Durham, Bryson Christian Montessori School, and Forest View Elementary.
The first stop on the tour was to the Center for Child & Family Health to learn more about Healthy Families Durham, a program that is funded by the Partnership through Smart Start. Visitors got to see the brand new facility and learned about importance of early intervention and home visiting for high-risk families with young children. They watched a powerful video showing a home visit with a young child and heard about another activity at Healthy Families Durham, the MAMA’s group, which works to counteract social isolation for Spanish-speaking mothers.
The next stop on the tour was Bryson Christian Montessori School, where participants had a chance to enjoy the beautiful day in the state-of-the-art outdoor learning environment. This school is one of three Durham Early Head Start centers, and visitors got to see first-hand how the classroom can be extended from inside to outside by touring the gardens, theater area, trails, and many other features of the outdoor learning environment. The Partnership also administers the state-funded NC Pre-K program at Bryson’s, offering high-quality early education to 4-year-olds in Durham who will benefit most from services. Guests got to visit an NC Pre-K classroom and even got to see a performance of a special song that their new “friends” prepared just for them!
Our final stop was Forest View Elementary, where guests learned about the Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) Initiative, a collaboration with Durham Public Schools. Forest View is home to a TTK Transition Team that hosts several events each year for rising kindergartners and their families, giving them an opportunity to meet future classmates, tour the school, interact with kindergarten teachers, and participate in parent-child activities. Attendees heard from the school Principal, Title 1 Coordinator and a Kindergarten Teacher, all of whom expressed a lot of gratitude for the collaborative relationship with the Partnership and the impact it has had on their students and families. Before leaving, guests had a chance to peek into some of the kindergarten classrooms, ending the tour with some smiling young faces.
All participants left the bus tour with a deeper understanding of the scope of the Partnership’s work, as well as the need for community-wide commitment and efforts to ensure that every child in Durham enters school healthy and ready to succeed. One way you can join this work is to become even more informed, involved and invested! Sign up for our email list for news and advocacy alerts, subscribe to this blog, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, join us on a future bus tour, and contact Davida Major for information about upcoming activities and volunteer opportunities at the Partnership.