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October 11, 2011 > Kidango receives Packard grant

Kidango receives Packard grant

Submitted By Paul Miller, Kidango

Kidango, a local nonprofit that specializes in early childhood education and child care services, announced today that the Early Childhood Education Teacher Pathway Project Collaborative (ECE Collaborative), whose members include California State University East Bay, Chabot Community College, the Alameda County Child Care Planning Council, Davis Street Family Resource Center and Kidango, has received a $100,000 planning grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to plan and develop a new approach to workforce development in the early education field modeled on a successful cohort model in Los Angeles. The grant was awarded to Kidango as the lead agency.

"For several months," said Kidango Executive Director Paul Miller, "the Collaborative has had ongoing discussions to explore how we might develop a similar model. Research shows time and time again how critical these early years are in a child's development and that quality early learning environments pay huge dividends in later academic success and quality of life. However, children have limited access due to many factors, including the difficulties of finding qualified early education workers who often have little incentive to stay in early childhood education jobs as a career."

Three members of the Collaborative, CSU-East Bay, Chabot Community College, and Davis Street Resource Center, are currently in the implementation phase of an East Bay After-School Workers' Teacher Pathway Project, made possible through the generosity of an earlier planning grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

"It has been a moving experience to see the transformation in participants' lives, said Executive Director Rose Johnson, Davis Street Family Resource Center," and the commitment they have in earning their teaching credentials. "In our ECE conversations, it became apparent that we had learned a great deal on what was needed to help students succeed. We are prepared to adopt the best practices already learned. By providing extensive supports to a cohort, offering participants jobs and career counseling, and yes - childcare - we could strengthen quality of early learning programs and see that participants could continue to advance themselves on a career ladder that would provide a decent wage."

The ECE Collaborative selected Kidango to act as the lead and fiscal agent for the project. The agency currently serves over 2,500 children daily in nine cities located in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties, and has over 500 employees. Kidango and will provide a critical employer perspective to the project, as well as extensive experience operating two Universal Preschool programs in partnership with school districts. Kidango's preschool programs are recognized and acclaimed by the California Department of Education, Children Now and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

"We are grateful to the David and Lucile Foundation for its continued commitment and investment in early education," said Miller. "The Foundation's vision and support is making a critical difference in access, quality and early learning outcomes for thousands of children in the state and serving as a model for others nationwide."

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