The Early Childhood Evaluation efforts and projects at MAC have continued to grow since becoming the local evaluation partner for Educare New Orleans. Through our work at Educare New Orleans over the past three years, we have continued to expand our evaluation efforts to work with Family Support, art interpretation, and science and math programming. We have developed partnerships with the New Orleans Museum of Art and their Mini Masters program in addition to Heritage Museum and Gardens who is implementing a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Program this year at Educare.
Our work also includes the addition of several new projects including two Acceleration Grants, funded by the Buffet Early Childhood Fund, which encouraged Educare sites to collaborate on small pilot projects across the network. Educare New Orleans and our evaluation team are collaborating with 4 other Educare schools on a project that aims to build teachers’ capacity to promote the young children’s social-emotional development and executive function skills. This project has contributed to a local partnership with Sherry Heller, Ph.D., and her team at the Tulane Institute of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health who are working with teachers and families at Educare New Orleans.
A second Acceleration Grant project that involves Educare New Orleans, is a 2 Generation Peer Learning exchange with three other Educare Schools (Atlanta, Phoenix, and Maine). Educare Atlanta has been implementing 2 Generation practices successfully for several years and is leading the effort. The two-generation framework lays out four core components needed to address family vulnerabilities and build economic security and stability: high-quality education for children, postsecondary education and skills training for parents; economic supports and asset building that provide a scaffold for families as they work to develop skills that lead to stability; social capital and networks that build on the strength and resilience of families; and health and well-being. MAC staff have been an active part of the 2 Generation team and is working with Educare New Orleans to better track families’ experiences and progress through Educare.
This year brings the addition of a new evaluation partnership with Kingsley House as the new evaluators for their Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Grant. To expand high-quality early learning opportunities in the years before preschool, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships support communities to increase the number of Early Head Start and child care providers that can meet the highest standards of quality for infants and toddlers. Kingsley House is partnering with 9 child care centers across Orleans and Jefferson Parish to provide comprehensive services and high-quality early learning environments for children 0-3 years of age. This project will allow more evaluation and insight into factors affecting development and behaviors of young children and we look forward to working with Kingsley to explore how their program can best serve families.