WINNIPEG – Story time in a day care typically consists of one staff reading to a group of children- but this isn’t the case at Lord Selkirk Park Child Care Centre.
The inner city daycare was selected by US-based researchers to be a part of the Abecedarian program three years ago. The program focuses on language in the years leading up to kindergarten, starting at just 3 months old. One on one attention and engaging the children is a big part of it.
“There’s language priority, conversational reading, enriched care giving learning games. These components are implemented every 15 minutes,” says Carly Sass, daycare supervisor.
Parents who had their kids in the program from the beginning are now starting to see some great results. Shayleen Houle has three children in the program. She has seen her daughter Selena come a long way.
“Her understanding, her vocabulary, I can speak to her and she’s very assertive and she knows what she wants,” says Houle.
The program has been around in the US since the 1970’s but this is the only Canadian childcare facility currently using it. The creator of the program, Craig Ramey, has been tracking the program’s success from the beginning.
“By the time they are of college age they are four times more likely to go to a four-year college and to graduate from it,” Ramey told Global News in a telephone interview from the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
Some of the students have started kindergarten, and teachers have been able to identify which kids who enter the school system are coming from the Abecedarian program. Staff are happy with the results, and say it is hugely rewarding.
“We wanted to try it in this area. It’s a lower poverty area, we wanted to give these kids a chance,” says Sass.