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DC West Launches Birth to Age 3 Home Visitor Program

Education Starts Early

By Susan Stern –  (VALLEY, Neb.) –  Calling all parents with young ones in Waterloo and Valley. The DC West Community School District is looking for families with babies, mothers who are pregnant and young children under age three to participate in a new, no-cost early childhood educational program, funded by the Learning Community, developed by the Buffett Institute and University of Nebraska at Omaha, as outlined in the Superintendents' Early Education Plan.

“We're really excited about this Learning Community funded program that benefits parents and children. Three times per month, we meet with each parent and child at their home encouraging strong parent/child interactions  and child development skills,” said Barbara Young, a DC West Early Childhood Home Visitor and teacher.

The 4th monthly session is a group meeting at a public place like the library or at DC West Elementary, which is great way for families to meet new friends and network socially.

“To start, I bring along a book bag filled with reading materials. Each month books are replenished. Parents are encouraged to read to their child every day. I serve as a parental resource for information like toilet training and other community services.  I also regularly assess and guide each child to make sure he or she is developmentally where they need to be,” added Young.

DC West's 12-month-long home visitor program funds 20 spots total, with ten child positions still available for babies, pregnant women, toddlers to age three. “Our hope is that by working with infants and toddlers before they head to K-12, children can be more successful in school through these early literacy and language interactions. The program also strengthens parent/child relationships and family connections to our schools, helping close the achievement gap in low income areas,” said Young.

DC West Elementary is one of 12 metro-area Learning Community member elementary schools to take part in the birth-to-age-three early childhood, home/school partnership program.  Participating schools from six school districts include:

  • Douglas County West Elementary (DC West Community Schools);
  • Belleaire Elementary (Bellevue Public Schools);
  • William Cody Elementary and Mari Sandoz Elementary (Millard Public Schools); Gomez Heritage Elementary, Liberty Elementary, Mount View Elementary, and Pinewood Elementary (Omaha Public Schools);
  • Karen Western Elementary, Meadows Elementary, and Mockingbird Elementary (Ralston Public Schools); and
  • Westbrook Elementary (Westside Community Schools).

“It's exciting for DC West to be one of the Learning Community sites for this early education project. Research shows that the most brain development occurs from birth to age five, so this program helps young children develop their brains at a critical time,” emphasized Duane Krusemark, Principal at DC West Elementary located in Valley, Nebraska.

To partipate in the birth to age three early childhood education program, contact Barbara Young direct at 402-516-8195.