Supporting Early Learning in Families Experiencing Homelessness
Thanks to a grant from the Buhl Foundation, we will be stepping outside the traditional “neighborhood” to develop materials for the unique population of children and parents experiencing homelessness in Pittsburgh. This grant will enable us to develop and deliver a basic early childhood education curriculum, drawn from the wealth of activity ideas developed by The Fred Rogers Company over decades. Through this project we aim to help parents experiencing homelessness to better nurture and support their children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development, setting the stage for their success in school.
To distribute the curriculum, we are partnering with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU), which oversees early childhood education services in Greater Pittsburgh and coordinates regional activity of the Pennsylvania Homeless Children’s Initiative. AIU staff will work directly with parents, as well as train staff and volunteers from several organizations that provide services to families experiencing homelessness. Besides developing an important resource, the Buhl grant allows us to deliver it in a way that strengthens the staff and volunteer pool at homeless shelters and builds shelters’ capacity to make early childhood education a permanent part of their programming. After piloting the program in Pittsburgh, we aim to broaden the program’s reach to a larger geographic area.
We’re excited to have this valuable opportunity to work with these neighbors and build on Fred Rogers’ rich legacy of promoting meaningful, nurturing interactions between children and their parents, while also supporting the professionals who serve them.