COMIENZA EN CASA | IT STARTS AT HOME integrates technology use (iPads) into a curriculum that provides parents of migrant preschool and Kindergarten children with activities and information to promote their child’s school readiness at home. Four families were involved with the first pilot project (February-June 2012) which had an early literacy focus and the second pilot project (September-December 2012) which involved exploring some early math concepts. Six families with preschool aged children were enrolled in the program in the spring (February-June 2013), exploring early science concepts in the various Science Investigators! Modules as well as in the fall (September-December 2013).
Parents help their children learn by offering them a variety of early learning activities in their home language (Spanish) that might take place inside or outdoors, as well as activities on the IPad using carefully selected apps (in English and/or Spanish). Learning modules include the following components:
- READ– ebook apps to learn more about a topic and/or experience a good story.
- PLAY & EXPLORE*– use educational game apps, providing another way for children to interact with featured concepts.
- CREATE– use creativity apps to create a story or project connected to the topic and/or of interest to the child.
- OFFSCREEN– participate in traditional early learning activities.
- FAMILY FOCUS– provide and discuss research–based information (e.g. articles, tip sheets) on different areas of early literacy and learning with parents.
*“Free Play Apps” provided additional apps for children to use related to learning goals of the month and/or to the planned activities.
Ana Blagojevic, Migrant Education Coordinator, in partnership with early childhood education consultant Bonnie Blagojevic, review research, early learning standards and incorporate feedback from families to develop the curriculum and units. Project participants get together once a month to discuss learning goals and activities for the unit, participate in hands-on learning activities, and to share stories and projects they have created. Suzen Polk-Hoffses, Kindergarten teacher at Milbridge Elementary School, attends and participates in the meetings which are currently held at the Milbridge Elementary School. While parents participate in the meetings, child care is provided in the Kindergarten room by an Americorps volunteer working at Mano en Mano.
Ana visits homes after two weeks to get feedback from parents about what their child learned and to set revised learning goals based on the parents assessment of priorities for their own child’s learning. Parents use the iPad to create a video recorded reflection about the final two weeks activities with their child which is submitted when the iPads are handed in at the end of each unit.
Families are using the iPad with children to document activities, create new publications and learn using the various apps and resources provided. Feedback from families guides the development of the project and is gathered in a variety of ways, including:
- A school readiness checklist identifying learning goals for the season, discussed prior to and following the units
- Conversations during home visits
- Video reflections
- Discussions that take place at evening meetings
Additional details about the Comienza en Casa (CeC) program, including activity sheets, app lists and selection tips, field trip photos, student work samples and resources used, can be found by clicking on Comienza en Casa 2012, Comienza en Casa 2013, and Comienza en Casa Resources Page on the sidebar. Visit the Community Partnerships page to learn about other efforts to expand early learning opportunities for children and families at the library.
Check the Comienza en Casa | It Starts at Home page periodically for updates!
This project is funded by and as part of the Maine Migrant Education Program.