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More Nebraska Families to Get Support Through Grant

Since its 2004 launch, Getting Ready has focused on strengthening relationships in children's lives, including relationships among parents, their young children and the early childhood professionals connected to the family.(David Lipp/Wikimedia Commons)
Since its 2004 launch, Getting Ready has focused on strengthening relationships in children's lives, including relationships among parents, their young children and the early childhood professionals connected to the family.(David Lipp/Wikimedia Commons)
February 6, 2020

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Fifteen years of research on best practices for helping young children prepare for school is expanding into communities across Nebraska, thanks to a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Preschool Development Grant.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln associate professor Lisa Knoche says the focus of the Getting Ready program is to support and strengthen the relationships in children's lives, between parents and children, and with childhood professionals.

"One of the ways that we can think about that support is through supporting all of the adults that are involved in their lives," she states. "At the end of the day it's about happy, healthy children who become productive members of our communities."

For 75% of Nebraska children under age six, both parents have jobs, and Knoche says that means children come into contact with a number of adult professionals through child care, preschool or other services.

The Getting Ready program provides those professionals with training on strategies that promote parents' and children's confidence and competence, including positive affirmation, in a collaborative way.

The new grant will provide training for 75 professionals in the state working in Head Start, Early Head Start and Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting programs.

Knoche says when parents and early childhood educators collaborate effectively, it's the children who benefit most.

"Children have better social skills," she points out. "They're generally more prepared for school. They have improved interactions with their peers, with other adults. And we've seen positive outcomes in terms of their language skills and early literacy skills."

After completing their initial training, each professional working with young children can tap additional support from a coach.

Knoche notes the evidence-based methodology doesn't prescribe activities for parents. It's designed to develop trusting relationships and let parents be the ones to decide what's best for their children.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - NE