Comienza en Casa | “It Starts at Home”

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Mother and child using the iPad together

COMIENZA EN CASA | IT STARTS AT HOME was a collaboration between the Maine Migrant Education Program and Mano en Mano that integrated technology use (iPads) into a curriculum that provided 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. The program continued through Spring 2015 with two different “units” per year (fall/spring) and is currently inactive because there are not as many migrant preschool families in the area. We are happy to share these materials and if you have any questions about the project, you may contact Ian Yaffe, Mano en Mano’s Executive Director.

Comienza en Casa Resources

Parents helped 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 included the following components:

  • READ– ebook apps to learn more about a topic and/or experience a good story.
  • PLAY– 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.

Click here to go directly to the Comienza en Casa | It Starts at Home Resources page.

The home visitor works with a child and parent on the iPad project

The home visitor works with a child and parent on the iPad project

Ana Blagojevic, Migrant Education Coordinator, in partnership with early childhood education consultant Bonnie Blagojevic, reviewed research, early learning standards and incorporated feedback from families to develop the curriculum and units. Project participants got 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, attended and participated in the meetings which were held at the Milbridge Elementary School. Childcare was provided for parents while attending the meetings.

Ana visited 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 used the iPad to create a video-recorded reflection about the final two weeks activities with their child.

A child works on a hands-on project with his family.

A child works on a hands-on project with his family.

Families were using the iPad with children to document activities, create new publications and learn using the various apps and resources provided. Feedback from families guided the development of the project and was 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

Click here to read what parents say about Comienza en Casa.

Funding for Comienza en Casa was made possible by the Maine Migrant Education Program (Title I, Part C of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act).