Pooh Corner was honored to receive the Sixpence grant in late 2018. This grant has not only been a large financial impact on the supplies in our rooms (0-3 years of age) but has also given us the opportunity to learn and grow to the highest level of education and childcare that we could possibly be. Pooh Corner is currently two of the three child care facilities in Hastings to participate in this ever growing educational resource. Pooh Corner, its staff and students are eager and excited to see the amazing outcome of this participation.
More than 30,000 of Nebraska’s infants and toddlers are at risk of arriving at their first day of kindergarten developmentally unprepared to learn and thrive. Sixpence is changing the odds in their favor. The Sixpence Early Learning Fund is Nebraska's signature effort to put our state's youngest and most vulnerable children on the path to success in school and life. Sixpence promotes high-quality early care and learning opportunities that help parents guide the healthy development of their infants and toddlers. As public-private collaboration at the state and local levels, Sixpence delivers efficiency, fiscal responsibility and measurable results for our investment in the next generation of Nebraska's citizens. Public-Private Partnerships Even though parents carry the distinct responsibility of giving their infants and toddlers the best possible start in life, the long-term outcomes of our state's youngest, most vulnerable children are a matter of common concern to all Nebraskans. Educators, business leaders, healthcare providers, law enforcement officials, policymakers and many others recognize that the most effective way to support parents in this critical responsibility is through public-private collaborations at the state and local levels. These partnerships bring together funding, resources and expertise to deliver sustainable, effective early care and learning programs serving families of children birth to age 3 most at risk of arriving at kindergarten unprepared to learn and thrive. State- and Community-Level Collaboration Sixpence was established in 2006 when major state agencies and private philanthropy came together to create an endowment providing sustainable funding for high-quality early learning opportunities targeting Nebraska's youngest children at risk. A governor-appointed Board of Trustees representing public and private sector interests awards the endowment's investment earnings to community-based early learning partnerships through a competitive grant process. The grant process is managed by Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, which also provides specialized guidance to promote program quality. Encouraged by Sixpence's success in improving children's school readiness, the State Legislature has twice approved additional investments of public funds to extend its reach to more of Nebraska's youngest children statewide. No single early learning program or service model can address the unique challenges facing individual families with infants and toddlers at risk statewide. This is why Sixpence funds locally-designed and managed partnerships that are highly responsive to the early learning needs of families where they live. Each Sixpence-funded partnership consists of the community school district working closely with various organizations, agencies and service providers who match their grant award through local funds and resources.
School-Child Care Partnerships: In 2015, Sixpence made it possible for schools to enter into early learning partnerships with a wider range of independent child care providers in their communities. The new partnerships enable more center- and home-based child care providers to benefit from Sixpence funding and resources, connects these providers to program improvement supports through Step Up to Quality, and increases the availability of developmentally positive, year-round child care opportunities for Nebraska families.
Step up to Quality
Quality matters! Early child care and education is crucial to a child’s future success, with 90 percent of brain development occurring before age 5. Early learning builds the foundation for skills needed in school, work and life. Children who receive quality early child care and education are more likely to:
Show improved reading & Math skills
Graduate High school
Have a Job
Earn higher wages
The need for quality is clear. While the majority of Nebraskans believe quality early child care is very important, only 10 percent strongly agree that young children in our state are prepared to be successful when they begin kindergarten. Parents believe their local child care providers could do better when it comes to quality. Only 15 percent of Nebraskans are very satisfied with the quality of early child care and education programs where they live. What does quality look like?
Curriculum. Providers should utilize an evidence-based curriculum that is developmentally appropriate, aligned with the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines and incorporates child nutrition and physical activity.
Learning environments. Whether in a family child care home, a child care center or a preschool, providers should adapt learning activities to meet the needs of individual children.
Teacher-child interactions. Teachers should actively engage children in everyday learning with effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development.
Child outcomes. Early child care providers and educators should be knowledgeable of developmental milestones and regularly assess and communicate about children’s skills, strengths and needs.
Professional development and training. Programs should be staffed with knowledgeable, effective and professional staff who pursue lifelong learning.
Family engagement and partnerships. Providers and educators should maintain collaborative relationships with families to help support each child’s learning and development.
Program administration. Quality early child care providers carefully select and guide staff and substitutes. They implement sound business practices for managing income, expenses and facility maintenance.