Research on child development and early care and education strongly suggests that where children live, play and grow has a demonstrable impact on their brain development and overall health. This includes not only parents and primary caregivers, but also the neighborhoods and community spaces where young children spend their time. In order to honor the Great Expectations Guiding Principles, MDC will concentrate early work on building structures to allow for parent and caregiver voice to guide the work of GE, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color. This will involve identifying local organizations that have strong relationships with financially-disadvantaged families, and working with and through those organizations to carry out a community assessment focused on sourcing input from parents/caregivers and providers. This assessment will be an important first step in the development of a cross-cutting family engagement strategy. Information from the community assessment will be used to hone investment priorities, shape parent/caregiver-focused communication strategies, and lay the groundwork for a comprehensive family engagement strategy.
Through the community assessment and conversations with local grassroots partners, MDC will determine the need for and/or value of parent leadership training, “community hubs” where parents/caregivers can access information and services, and/or other tools to increase parent/caregiver capacity and access to opportunities for their children and families.
There other community voices which are also often disconnected from the work of advancing outcomes for children. MDC intends to engage business leadership, leaders in higher education, and other civic leaders in the work of Great Expectations, which will support the Trust’s commitment to moving beyond “business as usual” and contribute to community-wide investment in early childhood in Forsyth County. MDC will also track and support other collaborative efforts in early childhood, linking business, higher-ed, and civic stakeholders with these efforts to promote increased collaboration.
Current Opportunities to Engage
- Contact us to share information about existing forums where financially-disadvantaged parents and caregivers are in dialogue about the needs of their families and children