The Arkansas Better Chance for School Success Program, commonly known as the ABC program, was created for three, four, and five year old children whose family’s gross income does not exceed the 200% of the Federal poverty level. Our objective is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that promotes development and enhances learning for each child. We strive to establish relationships with the families of the children in our care and to collaborate with our community members to deliver high quality Early Education services.
Eligibility criteria for enrollment in the ABCSS program at KidSPOT includes:
Children Exempt from income requirements and meet eligibility include:
Program Features of the ABCSS Program at KidSPOT:
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschoolers (HIPPY) Program:
Through the Arkansas Better Chance Program grant, KidSPOT provides home based instructional opportunities for families of preschool age children. HIPPY is provided at no cost to families meeting enrollment requirements.
What Is HIPPY?
HIPPY closes the achievement gap, one family, at a time by helping parents provide educational enrichment to their preschool children. HIPPY promotes preschool readiness and supports parents as their children’s first teacher by giving them the tools, skills, and confidence they need to work with their children in the home. Families participating in HIPPY receive all books and learning materials free of charge from their local program.
How does HIPPY work?
Over the course of about 30 weeks, trained home visitors — friends, neighbors, former program participants, and peers — work with parents to guide them through a weekly curriculum. Lessons and curricula activities are geared to the child’s age and development level, and the home visitors instruct the parents with easy-to-follow exercises and materials. Parents then spend time each day reading to their children, teaching them numbers, colors, letters, and many more school readiness skills using the tools, techniques, and materials provided by the home visitor.
Who does HIPPY work with?
HIPPY works with families of 2, 3, 4, and 5-year-olds. The program serves families from diverse ethnic and geographic groups. Although HIPPY is for any parent who wants educational enrichment for his or her child, the HIPPY model was designed to remove barriers to participation due to poverty, social isolation, and other issues.
What is provided to HIPPY participants?
Year 1 and Year 2 HIPPY Curriculum includes:
The 5-year-old HIPPY Curriculum Includes:
KidSPOT has been a provider of the Arkansas Better Chance for School Success program since 2004. Since that time, our program has expanded signficantly to meet the needs of the children and families enrolled at KidSPOT.
In accordance with the guidelines of ABCSS and the department of education, the role of KidSPOT in early education as it pertains to children is to provide a quality, learning enriched environment where children are introduced to a variety of elements, situations, and experiences to aide in development for kindergarten readiness.
Does this mean that you will see our children sitting at a table in a structured learning environment all day? No Way! At KidSPOT, we believe that children development the skills necessary to be successful in kindergarten through play based experiences either independently or through guided learning techniques during play.
HOW DO WE KNOW WE ARE MEETING THE NEEDS OF OUR CHILDREN?
To determine that the needs of all children is being met, KidSPOT does complete annual developmental screenings upon enrollment. These screenings outline areas of strengths and weaknesses that we then utilize to form individualized lesson plans for each child. Additionally, progress towards goals are tracked using Work Sampling which documents each child's achievements throughout the year.
WHAT ROLE DO PARENTS PLAY AT KIDSPOT?
Parents play the most important role in their child's early education development. Because of this, KidSPOT will host multiple parent teacher conferences throughout the year to touch base with families. This year, we have utilized zoom, telephone calls, facetime and other methods of telecommunication to bridge the communication barriers caused by Covid-19.
At KidSPOT, our program utilizes a written overall curriculum plan that covers topics like cultural diversity, social and emotional development, and language skills. Children participate in a daily schedule that includes indoor/outdoor activities, quiet/active activities, individual/group activities, fine/gross motor skill-building activities, and children/teacher initiated activities. The curriculum was designed to maximize children’s success when they start elementary school.
KidSPOT uses curricula that has been shaped by the standards, set by the Arkansas Child Development and Early Learning Standards: Birth through 60 months (CDELS). These standards help to ensure that the most important parts of each child’s growth and development are addressed and measured in developmentally appropriate ways in our curriculum. The standards are organized into nine domains of development and learning:
There have been many important developments in our understanding of the importance of this domain. Research shows that early relationships and social interactions have a dramatic impact on a child’s academic performance and mental health, as well as on the the success of their future relationships and career. The early interactions and influences in a child’s life, such as family and early learning programs, help shape their identity by providing role models that influence how they should behave and regulate their emotions. For children with behavioral problems, their behavior could be understood as a form of communication. It is important to try to understand the needs that children are trying to express through their behavior and then react appropriately to support those needs. Social and Emotional Development also helps mold the way in which they communicate, cooperate, show empathy, and build relationships with others. As Parents and Early Educators, we must be able to build secure, nurturing relationships with children as a foundation for further learning by promoting their social and emotional health and growth.
This is the way the brain helps children plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and handle multiple tasks successfully. The development of these skills are vital to a child’s future success because learning requires that a child focus on specific tasks to take in information, connect different pieces of information, and use information to solve problems or build new knowledge.
Physical development will usually happen on its own but there are things that Early Childhood Professionals can do to encourage physical growth and coordination. This guidance is especially important during play. We want to ensure children have confidence when they play, that they are able to engage in fun physical activities, and can develop a strong foundation for a healthy, active lifestyle.
Children are processing the sounds of language even before they are born and engage in an immense amount of language learning before they learn to speak. Children’s language learning is largely driven by the language environment in which they are exposed. This is why our curriculum is full of language and literacy activities. High quality language experiences are as critical to children’s brain development as food is to their physical development.
Research and testing shows that the most important predictor of high school graduation is a child’s ability to read by the third grade. At birth we must begin building a solid literacy foundation so that emergent literacy skills can be acquired at the earliest possible age. This is critical for future learning and literacy development. It is the foundation for reading and writing skills, which supports all other academic endeavors. As Early Childhood Educators, we must use this time to build the foundation for literacy in developmentally appropriate ways.
The years before a child enters kindergarten are called the “years of promise” for mathematics because they are so crucial for developing math skills. Activities that seem like simple play, such as building block towers, creating and recognizing patterns, and comparing items, are actually tremendously helpful at teaching children mathematical thinking and problem solving. As Early Childhood Educators, we must encourage and guide this kind of play, so the foundation will be set for learning more complex math when the child enters school.
All young children are natural scientists and engineers. Children observe the world around them and experiment with their surroundings. Children begin science and technology skills with the process of identifying problems, analyzing information they see or are told, and then using their own ideas to form conclusions. It is critical that we provide developmentally appropriate activities for children to help foster scientific thinking, because this is a skill on which all other domains of development are built.
During early childhood, children begin to widen their circles to include not only their family, but also their friends, neighborhoods, and Early Learning setting. They begin to recognize their cultural heritage and see themselves as part of a wider community. Social studies is a broad discipline that incorporates concepts from history, civics, math, geography, and many other subjects that will be studied later in school. It is the job of the Early Childhood Educator to broaden a child’s understanding of the world by introducing them to things through pictures, books, and technology that are not immediately present in their everyday environment. Seeing a broader view of the world and their place in it helps make them more empathetic, think more critically and become better problem solvers.
Being able to express themselves through music, art, and drama are serious topics of study. They are just as important as math and science. Through these topics, children are given the ability to develop and learn in ways that other classroom experiences may not offer. Just like in other domains, it is important that teachers provide activities that encourage exploration of different forms of artistic expression and provide opportunities to engage in paint, singing, and dramatic play activitie s.It is important to point out that these standards are not a curriculum in and of themselves. Instead, we use a curriculum that was designed to align with these standards. As an officially licensed Early Learning Center, Quality Child Care is mandated to use a curriculum approved by the Arkansas Department of Education. This curriculum must provide a path to meet these standards as well as an assessment system to measure what standards a child has met and how reaching the next milestone can be most efficiently accomplished.
At KidSPOT, we uses curricula endorsed by Better Beginnings, a program developed by the Arkansas Department of Human Services that provides families and child care professionals with the tools and knowledge to build better paths towards learning in Early Childhood Education. Better Beginnings also provides a voluntary quality rating system for child care centers, which allows participants to measure their efficacy and progress in several important areas of Early Childhood Education. Through evaluations and assessments of Arkansas child care centers and their teachers, Better Beginnings rates the quality of each child care facility by a three-star rating system.
Other than being FUN, play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is also important to a child’s neurological development. By playing, children are promoting healthy brain development because they are strengthening many neuronal connections that would otherwise disappear or weaken if not used. A few examples of the types of play we see in our classrooms include:
No set objectives. Children control the direction of the play narrative. With unstructured child led play, children maximum control and freedom in their learning environment. At KidSPOT, a large portion of the day is spent in child led play.
Structured Play: Play scenarios have clear objectives set by the adult. Adults control the direction of the play narrative.
Guided Play: Children direct the play scenario while adults play along. Adults use questioning and provide suggestions to stimulate learning.
Unstructured play: Children’s play scenarios have hs of life observe their immediate environment and master the use of their senses.
Solitary Play: Solitary play has no input from other children or adults. During solitary play, the child plays simply with the materials and environment that surrounds them.
Parallel Play: During parallel play, children play alongside one another without explicitly interacting. However, children may share space and resources.
Associative Play: Children play alongside each other in the same space and explicitly interact. However, they continue to play their own games with their own objectives
Symbolic Play: Symbolic or ‘pretend’ play is play that involves the use of inanimate objects to represent other objects, people or things.”
Role Play: A form of play in which children mimic the everyday tasks of adults such as sweeping, cooking and shopping.
Outdoor Play: Play that takes place in outdoor environments, preferably where students are exposed to the climate and nature
Sensory Play: Play that involves the intentional use of the five senses through the introduction of sensory materials into the play space
In addition to structured curriculum, KidSPOT also uses supplemental curriculum such as Handwriting Without Tears and Conscious Discipline.