In a display of public/private partnership, and a commitment to improving the quality of early education, child development and family engagement, Educare of California at Silicon Valley broke ground June 5 on California’s first Educare School, located on the campus of the Santee Elementary School and in the heart of San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative.
Educare of California at Silicon Valley will serve as the region and state’s leading professional development and research institute, training early childhood education professionals in scientifically proven best practices in an effort to improve the quality of care and instruction in sites beyond the walls of the school, including K-12. The school is scheduled to open in August 2015.
“The groundbreaking for this Educare represents an exciting moment of progress for all of us who care about improving the quality of children’s learning and health during their earliest years,” said Carol Larson, President and CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. “The Packard Foundation is proud of our long history in investing in children’s learning and health, and Educare’s proven approach to early education is a great example of the continued commitment to children into the future by our foundation and a wide array of partners .”
The 28,000-square-foot Educare School and institute will directly serve 168 low-income young children and their families with a research-based program proven to prepare children for kindergarten. To impact practice beyond the walls of the school, a signature component of Educare is its Professional Development Institute, a center that will provide high-quality training to early education providers (public and private sector) and to K-8 teachers from throughout the Bay Area and northern California in the latest science and evidence-based teaching methods. The institute will partner with the region’s schools, colleges and universities to ensure that educators bring robust teaching practices back to their schools and classrooms.
Through a coast-to-coast network of state-of-the-art, full-day, year-round schools, funded mostly by existing public dollars, Educare serves at-risk children from birth to five years. Each embraces a community’s most vulnerable children with programming and instructional support that develop early skills and nurture the strong parent-child relationships that create the foundation for successful learning.
“Research shows that children who experience Educare’s practices arrive at school performing on par with their kindergarten peers, regardless of their socio-economic standing,” noted Dr. John Porter, Superintendent of the Franklin-McKinley School District and chairman of the local Educare board of directors. “Educare’s teacher professional development institute and robust research will allow us to bring these practices to scale in the Bay Area and to affect education policy in California. This school truly will be a platform for raising awareness of the value and importance of early investment, particularly for California’s most at-risk children.”
At Educare Schools, teachers work with children—beginning in infancy and through preschool—and their parents to develop pre-literacy and early math skills such as letter and number recognition, problem solving, and counting. Equal emphasis is given to developing social-emotional skills such as the ability to focus on a task, persistence, impulse control and cooperation with peers. Each Educare School is a comprehensive early childhood program aimed at preventing the achievement gap that takes root between children in poverty and their middle-income peers long before they enter kindergarten. Educare of California at Silicon Valley is one of 21 schools in the national Educare Learning Network, a partnership of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, and partners across America.
The facility will contain a 2,200-square-foot teacher professional development institute; 12 state-of-the-art classrooms, as well as multiple indoor and outdoor learning spaces to meet the developmental needs of children; a family resource center to provide training and resources for families and the greater community; and its Early Learning Career Academy, in partnership with the East Side Union High School District, to provide hands-on learning to high school students who will become our future instructional leaders.