For the past two years my company, CHARPED, has been contracted to design and facilitate the parent component of the Cleveland Public Library’s Kindergarten Club. Throughout the nine-week sessions, I provide parents with strategies to help them prepare their children for kindergarten. As a veteran educator, I felt compelled to launch a company that would use an intergenerational approach to narrow the opportunity gaps for disenfranchised individuals. Cleveland, my hometown, is plagued with violence because of low educational attainment and socioeconomics. I aim to use my experience in K-12 and higher education to help change people’s narratives.
It takes a village to raise a child. Schools need to become more welcoming to their parents. During my workshops, I teach parents how to become partners in their children’s education through role-playing and modeling. Parents are also able to participate in engaging conversations about pertinent issues such as diversity and inclusion. Since the overarching theme of this program is that parents are their children’s first teachers, it is imperative for them to have time to interact with their children. During the last Science workshop we conducted, parents had to assist their children in composing hypotheses for the Dancing Raisins experiment. The at-home Grocery Store activity taught children about item matching, handwriting, and healthy food choices.
Family and community engagement is important because these noncognitive factors can interfere with students’ academic success. My commitment is to develop programs that will assist students in making a seamless transition from one grade level to the next. Programs such as Cleveland Public Library’s Kindergarten Club provide parents with the tools to help their children get a head start in education.