$210,000 Children's Futures Grant to Mercer County Community College
Will Fund a Parent Education and Early Literacy Project

8-29-05

Children’s Futures has granted $210,000 to Mercer County Community College (MCCC) to implement the “Parent Education and Early Literary Project” in Trenton beginning next month.

The grant will enable the college to bring its expertise directly to families on Saturdays, when faculty members and college students will offer free workshops for parents and young children at two of Children’s Futures parent-child development centers.

The goal of the two-year pilot project is to strengthen young Trenton families through early intervention. The college’s faculty will help parents gain new insights on parenting their young children. Workshop topics will include child development and stages of growth, children’s sensory-motor skills, and social and emotional development. Parents will learn about positive parent-child interactions through talking, reading and story telling.

Parents will also get a “preview” of the learning experiences available through Adult Basic Education/GED programs that Mercer County Community College offers at eight neighborhood locations in Trenton.

While parents attend the Saturday workshops, their children will be part of an enrichment program conducted by college students enrolled in an “Early Literacy Seminar.” Under faculty supervision the college students will work with the children to foster literacy skills, putting into practice what they are learning in the classroom. Each Saturday session will conclude with students interacting with and reading with both parents and children.

According to Children’s Futures Vice President, Melinda Green, the literacy program has as its framework the nationally recognized publication, “Building Literacy With Love,” by Betty S. Bardige and Marilyn M. Segal. “The book is grounded in research and practice in early childhood development,” she said.

Many of the families expected to participate and benefit from the program are the clients of social service agencies who are partners with Children’s Futures. The program will begin in September at the North Ward Center on Princeton Avenue, operated by The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey. A second site will be added later in 2006. There is space available for more participants, so Project Manager Ellen Tully encourages North Ward parents to call at 609-586-4800 x 6531 or email her at tullye@mccc.edu.

Children's Futures, a public/private partnership primarily supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is committed to ensuring that every child in Trenton enters preschool healthy and ready to learn. Children's Futures works with health care and social service organizations and citizens to provide a comprehensive approach to early childhood health and development.

Mercer County Community College is a comprehensive two year college offering 68 associate degree majors, credit and noncredit certificate programs, customized corporate training, youth enrichment programs and cultural opportunities.

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