Wonders and Partners Receive Grant for Equity in Early Learning Initiative
We are very pleased to share the exciting news that Wonders has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative. Wonders applied for the grant with two partners, School Readiness Consulting and The Campagna Center, both leaders in the field of early care and education. This partnership is an exciting collaborative step in ensuring that all children experience an equitable early education that translates to success in school and in life.
The grant will help fund the Equity in Early Learning Initiative which seeks to develop best practices in early childhood leadership, teaching and learning, and family engagement around equity-focused practice. This initiative will develop a clear agenda to elevate the DC metro area as an early learning model for exemplary work in equity leadership and social justice education at the programming, systems, local policy, and state/national advocacy levels.
The work will begin in February and will continue through December 2018. The project will include professional development for Wonders and Campagna’s early learning teachers, development of resources for families, and leadership coaching and collaboration for Wonders and Campagna’s leadership as well as regional leaders in this field.
High quality equitable early childhood education is achieved when strength-based views of children are foundational, when community and family knowledge is honored, when children are assessed in authentic ways and when differences among children’s racial, ethnic, linguistic, class, religious, sexual orientation, family structure, physical/mental ability, etc., are recognized, understood, and leveraged. Rather than pretending these differences don’t exist, we believe that an equitable early childhood education teaches young children how to notice, name and interrupt hurtful behaviors and unfair practices around these differences. This approach to early learning will cultivate strong positive identity development in each child and will help children feel comfortable in talking about and celebrating human difference.
The strategic alignment work of the Compass grant that Wonders received earlier this year is progressing as scheduled. The object of this project is to create a strategic growth strategy for Wonders that aligns with our strengths, recognizes our current capacity, and evaluates future opportunities. The Wonders Board of Directors will be reviewing the mid-project report in early March and anticipate a final report in June.
We are excited by and grateful for the recognition and investment made by the WAWF ECE Funders Collaborative. We look forward to sharing our progress on both initiatives and appreciate all that each of you do to contribute to our Wonders community.