Great Neck/Manhasset and Nassau BOCES Parent-Child Home program celebrates at annual International Luncheon
Catherine Gant, of Great Neck, said that her son, Chris, 2, at the Great Neck/Manhasset Nassau BOCES PCHP annual luncheon.
With a roomful of happy, grateful and enthusiastic families, staff, volunteers, and community representatives, the Great Neck/Manhasset/Nassau BOCES ParentChild+ Program (formerly the Parent-Child Home Program) held its 47th annual International Luncheon recently.
Designed to promote the development of educationally at-risk pre-school children, the ParentChild+ Program (PC+) is a two-year program that sends trained home visitors into participants’ homes to help parents become their children’s first teacher, and to make home their first classroom. Home visitors teach parents to increase children’s vocabulary through conversation, reading together, and play. They also assist children to develop pre-literacy skills so they will be on a par with their peers when they enter Pre-K. Appropriate books and toys are used to foster language development and pre-literacy skills. The Great Neck/Manhasset site has an additional program component: parents and children visit the Cumberland Center weekly. While they are there, the children develop their language skills and become acclimated to a preschool classroom environment while their parents meet with parent educators and visiting experts to learn about topics including child development, nutrition, early intervention services and the legal system.
Caroline Calderone, of Great Neck, said that her son Leo, 3 ½, has been with the program for two years. “It’s really helped with his social skills, and I’ve really seen changes in him,” she said. “I’ve seen him talk more, and he’s very friendly with other kids and adults. He loves it, and he looks forward to coming in every Wednesday. It’s also helped me as a parent, because they teach about nutrition and other useful things.”
At the luncheon, Regina Farinaccio, assistant coordinator of Nassau BOCES ParentChild+ Program/Family Literacy/Pre-K program, thanked the teachers, the directors, the volunteers, the parent educators, the home visitors, site supervisors and members of the Great Neck and Manhasset School Districts and their Boards of Education. But, she said, the most important people in the program are the parents who participate. “The early years are a time when we can work with families to make a real difference in the futures of their children,” she said. “The parents have committed their time to be part of their children’s early education, and the children will benefit from that commitment forever.”
Caroline Calderone, of Great Neck, and her son, Leo, 3 ½, at the Great Neck/Manhasset Nassau BOCES PCHP annual luncheon
PC+ is a partnership of Nassau BOCES, the Great Neck and Manhasset school districts, dedicated professionals, and families who care about the early education of their children. They also get support from the Parent-Child Home Program National Center, Help Me Grow Long Island, the LI Pre-K Initiative, the Child Care Council of Nassau, the Nurse Family Partnership, Good Beginnings for Babies, the Cornell Cooperative Extension Society and many other organizations.
“It’s a wonderful program to work with,” said Farinaccio, “The parents and their wonderful children, and the staff and the volunteers all want to be here and work together.”
And that work is yielding results. Research shows that children in the program are 50% more likely to be prepared when they enter Kindergarten and score 2.5times higher on social-emotional skills that are essential to school success. The children continue to achieve academically at the same level or better than their peers who did not participate in the program through the 4-8 grade standardized tests and they graduate from high school at a 30% higher rate than their peers. PC+ alumni from the Great Neck/Manhasset site have gone on to graduate from four-year colleges including Boston University, Adelphi, C.W. Post and a number of SUNY schools.
Catherine Gant, of Great Neck, attended the luncheon with her son, Chris, 2, who’s been part of the program since he was 18 months old. “He is getting so much out of this program,” she said. “I can’t believe this is my baby -- he was so shy, and now he knows so much more. They do a lot of one-on-one with the children.”
PCHP has also begun a new group for the fathers with children in the program. The group “Who Let the Dads Out?” was the idea of one of the fathers and is an example of developing parent leadership.