All children need relationships with caring, responsive adults in their earliest years. But no relationship is as critical as the one they share with their parents. Stable, nurturing and engaging interactions with parents—especially in the first three years—profoundly influences healthy physical and neural development with ongoing effects that persist across a child's lifetime. Sixpence supports early learning experiences that benefit infants and toddlers by enabling parents to grow as more capable, informed caregivers and educators of their youngest children.
The Challenge of Guiding Children's Early Development
No parent undertakes this important responsibility fully prepared for the challenge ahead. But while many parents have access to the kinds of resources and supports that enable them to develop these critical skills and qualities, far too many Nebraska families don't enjoy the same advantages. Financial insecurity, limited educational achievement, mental health problems, social isolation and other risk factors can actively undermine parents' opportunities to become the kind of caregivers and educators their children need, especially during the first three years of life.
Children Need Capable, Supportive Parents
Every early learning program supported by Sixpence focuses on helping parents fulfill their role as the key factor in children's lifelong success. Regardless of the type of service offered, these programs:
- Increase parent knowledge of children's developmental stages, enabling them to monitor the growth of their infants and toddlers. Through its collaboration with Step Up to Quality and other resources, Sixpence helps parents make responsible, informed choices about quality child care environments and work with providers to guide their children's progress.
- Strengthen parenting skills by creating opportunities for parents to work with experienced early childhood professionals. These professionals model, observe and coach parents in interactions proven to cultivate stronger emotional attachments, language and communications skills, and healthy neural development.
- Grow resilient families by helping them make the best use of existing community services, health and wellness programs, continuing education supports and other resources. Together, these form support networks that create safer, more stable family environments for their young children.