At-risk children under age 3 in Nebraska currently face long odds to gain access to high-quality early childhood learning opportunities. Estimates are that only 1 in 10 at-risk Nebraska children have access to early learning experiences that close the achievement gap by age 3. These figures are astonishingly low considering the tremendous promise of early childhood learning in the infant and toddler years. Sixpence is a unique Nebraska-based program that recognizes that gap, and aims to fill the void by serving infants, toddlers and their families.
How does it work? Sixpence operates on the premise that parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. With this in mind, Sixpence develops parent engagement by meeting with families in their homes and at its center-based locations across the state. In-home visits have proven to be effective tools in narrowing the achievement gap by improving children’s social-emotional development, increasing vocabulary and enhancing cognitive function.
Sixpence advises parents on how to develop strong bonds with their child, and nurture the behaviors that lead to success in school and life. A review of Sixpence outcomes showed that participating families had sufficient parent-child interaction skills to close the achievement gap. And families increased the quality of their interactions the longer they participated in Sixpence.
See the Sixpence website for additional information, including profiles of participating parents and children, and its unique funding structure using a public-private partnership.