Winter Newsletter 2017

The 2017 Onward Update Winter Newsletter is out, featuring our cover story about a parent who has become a leader among her peers!

Sandra would have preferred to stay with her daughter until she was ready for kindergarten. However, she needed daily childcare while she worked to support her family.

She was apprehensive about placing her daughter in a daycare, especially after hearing horror stories on the news. “For me that was the biggest thing, needing to trust that someone would take care of your child the way that you would.”

When Sandra enrolled her daughter in Onward House’s Early Head Start program, she worried about how staff would treat her daughter, who would shake and cry during potty training. Onward House teachers soothed Sandra’s anxiety, letting her know that her daughter’s reaction to potty training was normal. And teachers were right, within four months, Sandra’s daughter grew to be a confident potty user. That was the milestone convinced Sandra that her daughter was in the right place.

As much as she wanted to be her daughter’s only teacher, Sandra recognized that Kindergarten readiness is a team effort. “She’s blossoming. I honestly believe that if she had stayed with me, she wouldn’t be ready for kindergarten. I practice things like sharing with her, but it’s different for her to learn with other children to take turns, make good choices, and to be able to recognize her emotions and calm herself down.”

Sandra first represented her daughter’s classroom for policy meetings, and soon became the Chair of the Parent Policy Committee. There, she and committee members advise on program policies and activities, including participating in the recruitment and screening of new employees – something that Sandra believes helps parents feel more confident that their children are in goods hands.

“It has been an awesome experience – I’ve learned a lot. I love the support that we receive as parents. My daughter always greets her former [Onward House] teachers with a hug, she’s going to remember them for a long time.”

Now, Sandra is looking to teachers for guidance and support as she navigates the process of choosing schools and transitioning her child to kindergarten. “People ask me, ‘what did you do to have your daughter be so confident and independent?’ I tell them that one thing that helped was the Head Start program.”

Read the full Winter 2017 Newsletter [PDF]

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