Early learning grants awarded

PORT ANGELES — Some $57,000 in grant funds have been awarded to six agencies to support early learning programs that potentially will benefit more than 3,000 children and families in Clallam County.

Prevention Works! and United Way of Clallam County announced the funding Wednesday.

The money is through the United Way’s Great Beginnings initiative, which aims to invest in young children as a way to invest in the community by funding programs that serve children up to 5 years old to help them start school healthy with the skills they need to be successful.

Prevention Works!, a community coalition that aims to strengthen families, made recommendations for grants to the United Way board.

Programs funded will provide services in at least one of the following focus areas: parenting education, interventions for at-risk children, school readiness and educating the community on early learning.

Here are the grant recipients and their programs.

• Lutheran Community Services Northwest — Child Check: $23,359

Child Check is a universal screening program open to all children between the ages of 18 months and 5 years in Clallam County.

The goals are to improve parenting skills and parent/child relationships; increase early identification of social, emotional and/or behavioral disorders; increase referrals for those disorders; and ultimately improve school readiness for kindergarten.

• Parenting Matters — Parenting Education Classes: $12,000

Parenting Matters will offer parent education classes in two of the following communities: Sequim, Forks, Neah Bay or La Push.

The curriculum will be “The Incredible Years, Make Parenting a Pleasure,” or “Los Niños Bien Educados,” depending on the community served.

Participants will increase their understanding of child development and appropriate expectations, as well as community resources available to support them.

Classes will also help parents spend more time talking with and reading and listening to their children.

• First Step Family Support Center — Summer Adventure Camp: $6,456

Summer Adventure Camp is a three-week, half-day program for pre-kindergarten students to become ready to enter kindergarten in the fall.

• Parenting Matters — Reaching Out to Parents of Young Children: $5,000

Parenting Matters will provide the monthly First Teacher newsletter free to families, service providers and community partners.

The newsletter has information for parents about child development, skills needed for kindergarten success and parenting skills.

• Serenity House of Clallam County — Incredible Years Parent Education Classes: $4,800

Serenity House will provide the Incredible Years (IY) parenting education program for parents of toddlers or pre-school children in Port Angeles.

Participants will be recruited from the very low-income population served by Serenity House.

The IY program aims to strengthen parent-child interactions, parental coping skills and the ability of parents to respond to stresses.

• Crescent Cooperative Pre-School — Education: $3,500

Crescent Cooperative Pre-School will provide scholarships for students in-need to attend the program, as well as provide the “Parenting is a Pleasure” program for parents.

It aims to help students develop school readiness skills and parents to improve parenting skills and awareness of their role in their children’s success in school.

• Olympic Medical Center Foundation — Reach Out and Read: $2,000

The foundation will use the funds to purchase books to be distributed by Peninsula Children’s Clinic to families during well-child visits.

Parents will receive books and literacy advice to promote early literacy and encouraged to increase the amount of time spent reading to their children. Parents will also increase their knowledge of their children’s development in this area.

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