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Partnering with Parents
Published Monday, February 3, 2014
Samantha Richardson knows the value of a good education. Sam graduated from College of Saint Mary in December and is currently pursuing a career in teaching. Because of her passion for quality education, she enrolled her son, Walter, now 3 ½, in the Early Head Start program at Child Saving Institute’s Early Childhood Education Center when he was 9 months old.
Sam says it’s been a wonderful experience. She explained that Walter is half Japanese and that when he was a toddler, his teacher encouraged him to use his developing Japanese language skills, even learning a few simple Japanese phrases herself so she could better communicate with him. “She embraced our family diversity and brought it into the classroom so he was more comfortable,” Sam recalls.
Recently Walter, a bright and engaging little boy (he is already sight reading and speaks some Spanish), “graduated” from the federally-funded Early Head Start program and Sam faced difficult decisions regarding his care.
Although she loved Child Saving Institute and the quality education and support of the teachers, she feared she would have to move him to another school because of her limited means. Sorry to lose Walter, but ever attentive to the needs of CSI’s families, Kathy Hubbard (then Walter’s teacher, but now the Center Site Coordinator), helped Sam research other daycares that would offer bus service to a Head Start program.
“Kathy wanted Walter to stay, but she was willing to aid in the transition because she wanted what was best for us,” Sam says. Fortunately, Sam received special approval to accept her student teaching hours and was able to qualify for Title XX, a federal child care subsidy, and Walter is now learning and thriving in Miss Katy’s preschool class.
Sam says she is grateful for CSI’s focus on the needs of the whole family. She recounted her grandfather’s recent passing, followed a week later by her grandmother’s death. Walter’s teacher spoke to her about explaining death to Walter, offering information in a way he could understand while, at the same time, providing him reassurance.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better relationship—a partnership— with a caregiver for the past three years,” Sam concludes. “They have been there every step of the way offering me advice and support, and Walter the best possible care.”