By Jane | January 10, 2011
Part of last year’s Priority Gift to our community was a contribution of up to $20,000 to evaluate the effectiveness of Playgroups in our City and explore possibilities for improving and expanding the playgroup model.Giving Circle Founding Member Karen Devlin, together with September Jones of the Alexandria/Arlington Smart Beginnings Program have set this initiative in motion by way of a Playgroup Summit that took place in December. Several organizations with a vested interest in early childhood education and parental engagement participated in the event, which took place at the Campagna Center.
The purposes of the Summit were to:
- Obtain and share information on the various playgroup models operating in the City,
- Establish the unique characteristics of playgroups to reach at-risk families, provide opportunities to connect parents with community resources and facilitate development of social skills of children under age five.
- Identify the best way to reach at-risk families
- Determine whether there is a need or desire to have a comprehensive playgroup strategy in Alexandria
The Summit was successful in bringing together individuals who represent diverse organizations in the community who are interested in improving and expanding playgroups, such as the Center for Alexandria’s Children, the Office of Early Childhood, the Department of Human Services for the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria City Public Schools, the City of Alexandria’s Health Department, the Campagna Center Early Head Start Program, Preschool Prevention Team, Northern Virginia Family Services, Healthy Families Alexandria, and Stop Child Abuse Now. The summit was also attended by George Washington University faculty.
The conversation is just beginning and we are on the cutting edge! There is more to come in the next few months. Stay tuned to find out how our Giving Circle will have an opportunity to assist direct providers in improving and expanding the playgroup model throughout Alexandria.