Early Childhood Education

Harnessing Local Resources to Increase Access

Bluegrass I-II November 5, 2019 1:45 pm - 3:00 pm

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Joanna Haas
Kristie Adams
Dr. Annette Bridges
Janet Brown
Dan Pascucci

Every day is a Big Little Adventure. Conceived out of a unique community think-tank exercise, My Big Little Adventure (MBLA) was collaboratively designed to connect families with young children (age 0-5) to the educational resources that already exist within their home, neighborhood and broader community – but with the hook of themes, structure and incentive. The project ultimately materialized as a website that now serves as a resource and clearinghouse for (mostly free and low cost) events and activities. It organizes resources from lots of sources into one place and eliminates the clutter of commercial enterprise and the wide age ranges typically found in these kinds of event sites. The project also involves community outreach work to drive signups and family engagement and harnesses the voices and resources of multiple cultural and social service partners under the common interest of reaching more young children and caregivers with existing programs and services. MBLA is a value-added experience that nurtures everyday learning by pointing out the easy ways to turn daily routines and simple materials into adventures that hone kindergarten readiness, and by encouraging participation and the development of relationships with local resources (like libraries, health providers, museums, parks, zoo, arts organizations and more). MBLA aims to be an accessible and understandable roadmap for connecting more families to the easily-accessible and readily-available enrichment resources that exist around them, as well as coaxing adults into using materials around the house to further learning in simple ways. This session will explore the MBLA project from initial concept, through design to year one deployment, identifying successes, lessons and anticipated adjustments as collaborators move into the project’s second year. We will explore what can be accomplished when like-minded professionals set aside individual program goals for the greater good of a mutual cause like early childhood school readiness.