ECE Center Provides High Quality Learning During Pandemic
Child care professionals are among those exceptional people we call essential workers—those people who risk their own health, and that of their families, to keep our community strong. At Florence Crittenton Services, we are incredibly proud of our Early…
Child care professionals are among those exceptional people we call essential workers—those people who risk their own health, and that of their families, to keep our community strong. At Florence Crittenton Services, we are incredibly proud of our Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers, who stepped up to meet the challenges of COVID-19 without hesitation.
Like many child care centers, FloCrit’s ECE Center was impacted by the Colorado stay-at-home order, as well as the switch to remote learning by Denver Public Schools, both of which went into effect in March 2020. To protect the health of our young families and staff, our Center classrooms remained closed until September. Of course, when it comes to our youngest learners ages 0-4, there is no substitute for being in a classroom with the highly trained, loving caregivers that FloCrit offers in our ECE Center. But our ECE team was determined to continue supporting our FloCrit infants and children, and their young moms, in whatever way possible.
The team quickly came together and designed a stay-at-home learning program for our teen families that included several kinds of support. First, teachers prepared child development activity packets for each teen mom to do with her child, with all the needed materials, and regularly either mailed or delivered them to their homes. The activity packets were customized for each child’s age and development needs. Additionally, our ECE teachers used an app called Band to provide daily guidance to our teen moms around safety at home, good child development practices, and ideas for making any household activity, such as preparing or eating a meal, into one that helps children build skills. Best of all, they held virtual classroom activities, including story hours, singing, and show and tell, so that moms and children could stay connected to each other.
On September 22, after months of careful training and preparation, the FloCrit ECE Center classrooms were able to re-open. While our young moms continued with remote learning during the first semester of the academic year, now they were able to bring their child to our center so they could continue getting kindergarten-ready, while they did their high school work off-campus. Our ECE Center Director, Mona Lisa Martinez, reflects, “In many ways, the early childhood education field was ahead of the game when it comes to being COVID-safe. Our teachers were already well-trained to practice the same techniques in the classroom that the rest of the world has learned from the pandemic. Also, the Denver Early Childhood Council has been an amazing support—providing us with additional training around use of masks, social distancing, meal management, pick-up and drop-off practices, and many other procedures that keep us safe and learning.”
Over the past few months, more than 75 children have enrolled in our ECE Center, even while curriculum at Florence Crittenton High School remained online. Because some of our young moms are choosing to keep their children at home, our stay-at-home ECE activities are also continuing, and they will for as long as they are needed. Mona Lisa concludes, “I just couldn’t be prouder of our ECE team. They all know that the 0 to 4 years are so critical to a child’s development. We want all our FloCrit children to continue learning and growing during COVID. And they have risen to this challenge, and reimagined our ECE programming for this period in a way that truly shows why we call them essential workers.”
In addition to the generosity of our supporters and community partners, the FloCrit ECE Center depends on the income earned from the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program when a child attends to operate. FloCrit has been a part of efforts at the state and local level to advocate for the continued support that centers across the state rely on to run. In the same way that our ECE Center teachers and staff have stepped up to continue to meet the needs of our littlest learners, we hope our supporters will see the value in supporting the FloCrit ECE Center. Donations made to Florence Crittenton Services and designated for the Early Childhood Education Center are eligible for the Colorado Child Care Credit—a 50% state tax credit that is available to donors whether they itemize or not. Contact our Development office at 720.423.8908 for more information.