Innovative Early Learning Program for At-Risk Children to Launch in New Haven

Created by Save the Children, program includes home visits and school-based meetings

New Haven – An early literacy program designed by Save the Children for infants, young children and their families launches this fall in New Haven.

Early Steps to School Success-New Haven, funded and managed by the nonprofit Read to Grow, will work with at-risk families to help ensure their children enter kindergarten with the skills needed for success in school and beyond.

New Haven will be the only urban-based adaptation of a highly successful, rural program implemented by Save the Children in 2006.

In the Early Steps program, staff work from elementary schools and make home visits to voluntarily enrolled pregnant women and families with young children, newborn to age 5. Through regular home visits and book exchanges, Early Steps providers equip parents with skills to build a foundation of language and literacy skills for their children. Also, through supplemental parent-child group meetings at the schools, the program gives children opportunities to develop socially and emotionally with their peers, while fostering strong home-school connections.

In addition to helping disadvantaged children gain essential early learning skills, Early Steps increases knowledge among civic leaders and agencies about the needs of early childhood education.

Early Steps was established by Save the Children 12 years ago in some of America’s most impoverished rural areas. Today, Early Steps serves more than 90 rural communities in eight states, assisting about 5,760 young children.

Based in Branford, Read to Grow has operated 19 years in Connecticut, promoting early childhood literacy through two programs: Books for Babies and Books for Kids. Through partnerships with hospitals, community health centers and dozens of nonprofits, it has given more than 1.8 million children’s books and provided workshops and other literacy services to parents so they are prepared to be their children’s teachers, starting at birth.

For more information, please contact Read to Grow in Branford, CT: Kyn Tolson, executive director (ktolson@readtogrow.org; 203.488.6800), or Robin Baker, office manager (rbaker@readtogrow.org; 203.488.6800) 

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