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Opening Doors: Importance of Parent Education in Head Start

Provide Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors curriculum to parents within CPLC ECD Migrant/Seasonal Head Start and Migrant Head Start Programs

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) Early Childhood Development (ECD) has over 22 years of experience working with Arizona migrant and seasonal farm working families. Arizona migrant and seasonal farm working families face a host of challenges. Government policies and attitudes have become increasingly hostile toward this group and these families are facing challenges such as health disparities, economic insecurity, extended work hours, underemployment, and immigration status. Given these social conditions, ECD Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and Early Head Start program (MSHS-MEHS) concentrates on building welcoming, affirming, and responsive environments that accommodate families’ lifestyle and needs. Staff and families collaborate to build opportunities to socialize and learn from one another. Families assist with programming content and are encouraged to support their child in the classroom. To encourage further parental involvement in their children’s education ECD proposes to provide Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors (AP/OD) curriculum to migrant and seasonal farm-working parents living and working within Maricopa, Pinal, Cochise and Yuma Counties of Arizona whom have children under the age of five-years old enrolled in CPLC ECD Migrant and Seasonal Head & Migrant Early Head start programming. Parents are their children’s first teachers; AP/OD is the first evidence- based bi-lingual curriculum, developed in partnership with Latino parents that builds parental competence in leadership and advocacy. Parents, who are equipped with empowering knowledge and positive tools to work with and in behalf of their children, can lead the way to creating positive outcomes for not only their children but also their communities.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

The geography focus are Maricopa, Pinal, Wilcox, Cochise, and Yuma Counties, which have high concentration of migrant and seasonal farm working families. Eighty percent of the over 63,000 AZ migrant and seasonal farm workers have children, children who will need educational support and guidance as they maneuver AZ public school system. Many migrant and seasonal farm-working parents lack the confidence and knowledge needed to be the strong educational advocates their children need.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Providing Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors (AP/OD) curriculum, CPLC ECD will be able to educate and empower migrant and seasonal farm working parents to draw on their own lived experiences to develop effective ways to teach their children. Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors will help ECD provide families with resources of information and the opportunity to reflect & analyze that information in order to increase their awareness, which will enable the parent’s leadership and advocacy skills.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

In providing Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, ECD will be able to teach parents that their current limitations do not have to be barrier in assisting their children with their early education. ECD will show parents that their lived experiences are assets to be used in tandem with the AP/OD curriculum in weaving a model that celebrates lifelong learning, leadership and advocacy. Connecting the process of everyday life experiences with social and educational context presented within the curriculum ECD will use the AP/OD to provide critical knowledge on early childhood development, positive discipline, mindfulness, and social competence. When parents learn that they have the ability to take up and own their rightful place in advocating their child’s educational future, parents will build the confidence need to change their lives in ways that are meaningful to them and their community.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

ECD intends to make a difference within the community by teaching AZ migrant and seasonal farm working parents to see themselves as powerful and competent resources who collaborate and contribute to their child’s educational development and sustained learning gains. ECD will use AP/OD pre/post-test assessment to examine participants’ knowledge and skill change achieved due to their participation. ECD will look at the number of referrals provided and the number of family goals met to determine the success of this project. ECD anticipates that families who participated in this project will take on leadership roles within our program and their children’s school as a means of testing their newly learned leadership skills. Once parents see their leadership abilities put to use, they will take on leadership positions within the community, further their own education, purchase homes and/or apply for jobs they did not believe were within their capability previously.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Empowering migrant and seasonal farm working parents is important because the power in knowing there are options available to them to learn, to lead, and understand the crucial role their culture and lived experiences are in the shaping of their child’s education is paramount. With increasing hostile attitudes towards the Latin culture many families hide and do not share their culture with their children hoping to ‘protect’ their kids from being ostracized by the majority population. Parents won’t teach children their native language or cultural traditions in hopes that their child will assimilate into the popular culture and fair better in life than the parents had. It’s an incredible lost when the belief of having to deny one culture to be accepted by another is needed to survive. Its important to show migrant and seasonal farm working parents that their language, culture and traditions are relevant and play an essential part of their child’s personal and educational success.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

ECD defines migrant family as a family who is engaged in agriculture labor and who have changed their residence from one geographic location to another in the preceding 2-year period. A seasonal family is defined as a family that engages primarily in seasonal agricultural labor and who have not changed their residence to another geographic location in their preceding 2-year period. These families work 6 days a week for 10 to 12 hours so their time is limited and access to readily dependable and available transportation is a rarity. As such, ECD service centers are located in areas that are easy for parents to get to and work diligently to have personal contact with families several times throughout the month by conducting home visits, during parent engagement activities and at parent committee meetings. ECD serves over 870 migrant and seasonal farm workers children annually within the Arizona Counties of Maricopa, Pinal, Cochise and Yuma.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

The migrant and seasonal farm working community is resilient, hardworking and determined- these descriptions are all strengths needed to guarantee the successfulness of this project. This community loves hard and believes in everyone helping each other in order to succeed. The migrant and seasonal farm working community is a tight community that show up for each other every day, they are very village-minded in everything they do. Many will live together, sometimes three families in one home- to make sure everyone has a roof over their heads and food on the table. Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors curriculum uses means easily relatable to the migrant and seasonal farm working community by using culturally relevant art, folk wisdom and storytelling, combined with school readiness activities, to make learning accessible and meaningful. Given the amazing attributes displayed by this community there’s no question that this project will be successful in its purpose.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

The community partners that help with providing resources and tools to the families and children we serve are as follows: Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP),Arizona Department of Health Services,Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Arizona Head Start Association, Inc. (AHSA), and the Arizona Western College Dia del Campesino Program. AzEIP works with ECD to find assistance for the 3-5 year-olds with special education needs in our program. WIC to provide our program participants with nutrition education, health referrals, prenatal and postpartum assistance. ECD works with ASHA to support the development of families and ensure that families have safe opportunities to practice their leadership and advocacy skills in safe and appropriate environments. Lastly, by attending Dia del Campesino community events allows ECD to reach community farm workers and their families to provide them with our services, program information and free health screenings for hearing and vision.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Majority Adoption: We have expanded the pilot significantly and the program product or service has been adopted by the majority of our intended user base (i.e. 50% to 83% of the target population or 50,000 to 1,000,000 users).

Group or Organization Name

Chicanos Por la Causa, Inc. Early Childhood Development Department

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) is an all-encompassing organization providing direct services to an underserved population throughout the Southwest. Founded in 1969, CPLC has provided a comprehensive range of bilingual and multicultural services in the fields of health & human services, housing, education, and economic development. We provide direct services affecting more than 370,000 individuals annually in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Early Childhood Development (ECD) has operated CPLC’s Arizona Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Program since 1996 and operates CPLC’s Early Head Start and its Family Childcare Partnership programs throughout the state of Arizona. CPLC’s ECD programs focuses on meeting the education and childcare needs of families and fostering family self-sufficiency through the provision of supportive care and developmentally appropriate early childhood education services to children under five years old.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

United States of America

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Phoenix, Arizona

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