Click here for full report
The Early Childhood Committee of the Valley Council for Health & Human Services and the Discovery Communities of Ansonia, Derby and Shelton recently held a community breakfast to release the findings of the Early Childhood Capacity Study funded by Valley United Way and conducted by the United Way of Connecticut. Pam Lorenzo, chair of the Early Childhood Committee, served as M.C. for the breakfast which was well attended by Valley leaders including several superintendents of schools. David Nee, Executive Director of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, and Paul Vivian who has served as advisor to the Valley Communities were guest speakers giving an overview of the state of early childhood programming in Connecticut.
Ansonia, Derby and Shelton are in the midst of their work on Discovery Grants provided by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. The Fund is working with 49 Connecticut Communities and other partners to improve the lives of young children from birth through age eight. The Discovery communities are focusing on parent leadership, engagement and collaboration in an effort to expand the supply of high quality early education, improve the quality of existing early education, strengthen connections between early care and elementary education and improve student social, emotional and academic performance. Valley United Way serves as the fiduciary agent for Ansonia, while TEAM, Inc. provides that role for Derby and the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley does the same for Shelton.
Recognizing that early childhood is an issue for the entire Valley, the Early Childhood Committee serves as an umbrella group for all organizations interested in the issue and includes all five Valley communities. With funding from Valley United Way, they undertook the capacity study. That group has also been responsible for distributing informative Born Learning materials throughout the Valley.
On Friday, March 30 the results of the survey were presented for the first time. Connie Condon, who serves as coordinator of the Derby Discovery Project, presented a summary of the findings of the study. Click here to see the presentation. The presentation highlights the value and availability of early care throughout the Valley showing some of the deficiencies in slots availability across the Valley. It details some of the progress made by the Ealry Childhood Committee and some of the needs to be worked on in the future.