Early Years Count Education Initiative
In 2001, the Community Foundation received $5 million from the Lilly Endowment to improve education in St. Joseph County. Because most kids who start out behind stay behind, high-quality early childhood education can make a big difference in preparing children to succeed in school—academically, socially, and emotionally.
Our goal is to give disadvantaged children a fair start, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.
Since 2001, we’ve used the research-based, nationally recognized High/Scope program to train more than 430 teachers, assistants, and administrators in effective classroom techniques. We’ve evaluated the success of the program through the Early Childhood Assessment Project (ECAP), which uses objective rating scales to judge how well these new tools are being incorporated. And we’ve helped teachers get the mentoring and support they need through ECAP mini-grants, intensive seminars with local and national experts, and ongoing High/Scope classes and workshops.
As a result, we’ve dramatically improved the quality of early childhood education for thousands of young children in Head Start classrooms and other centers throughout the county. Now more children start school ready and eager to continue learning. And that’s good for the entire community.