The first five years of a child’s life present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for childhood education and development. During those years, neural connections are being made more rapidly than at any other time. These connections are the architecture of the adult mind—the foundation upon which all future learning and relationships will be built.
Because Nebraska Children and Families Foundation focuses its initiatives on prevention, we see outstanding potential for early childhood education. We have several programs underway that focus on early child development and making a real, positive difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens and their families.
Sixpence Early Learning Fund
This fund provides support to parents of young children and early childhood caregivers so they can create safe, stimulating environments that spark learning through meaningful interaction. The fund focuses on at-risk children ages 3 and under, ensuring that our most vulnerable kids have the best start possible.
Rooted in Relationships
Rooted in Relationships is an initiative that partners with communities to implement evidence-based practices that enhance the social-emotional development of children, birth through age 8. One part of this initiative supports communities as they implement the Pyramid Model, a framework of evidence-based practices that promote the social, emotional, and behavioral competence of young children, in selected family childcare homes and childcare centers. In addition, communities develop and implement a long-range plan that influences the early childhood systems of care in the community and supports the healthy social-emotional development of children.
Communities for Kids
Communities for Kids was created in response to community requests for assistance with shortages of high-quality early childhood care and education programs — shortages that both impact children’s optimal development and pose a challenge for communities hoping to attract and retain the workers they need.
Communities for Kids helps facilitate the conversation among a community’s public and private organizations and provides expertise, tools, and resources to the community to support the creation and implementation of solutions to child care shortages.
Prosper Lincoln is a community initiative/agenda that was developed with broad community input and support after the Lincoln Vital Signs report came out. Vital Signs confirmed that Lincoln is a great community in which to live. It also detailed that some of our residents are struggling with significant needs. Prosper Lincoln is a response designed to improve the prosperity for all Lincoln residents with a focus on those most in need. Prosper Lincoln has a three-pillar approach: Early Childhood, Employment Skills, and Innovation/Entrepreneurship.
We take a collective impact approach to bring together the people doing the work so that we can accomplish more with a common agenda, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, shared measurement, and backbone support. Nebraska Children is the backbone support for Prosper Lincoln’s Early Childhood work.