inSights Magazine Winter 2015 - Page 8

Since the 2003 formation of Enfield’s Early Education Collaborative, Key Initiatives To Early Education (KITE), the Enfield Public Schools has sat at the table as a committed partner. The mission of KITE is to ensure that all families with young children in Enfield have knowledge of, and access to, quality early care and educational opportunities both in and outside of the home. KITE works to heighten awareness and aims to promote the shared use of local resources to ensure that our youngest residents are prepared to learn. The work is guided by a comprehensive Early Childhood Community Plan with three areas of focus: Early Education and Care, Health, and Family Engagement. Being a part of a strong, town-wide collaborative provides numerous opportunities to work together on behalf of Enfield’s children, birth to age 8. The first five years of a child’s life are particularly important for the development of the child's brain, and the first three years are the most critical in shaping the child's brain architecture. • Partnering with KITE, Enfield Public Schools has had the opportunity to participate in a state sponsored Age 3 to Grade 3 Institute affording the district the opportunity to create an action plan to align teaching practices and curriculum to a state framework. As an outgrowth of that work, practices and strategies are being implemented in various areas including: increasing family engagement, sharing professional development for area early educators and the schools, opening lines of communication between early education and care centers and the primary schools, and embedding techniques to support the development of executive function skills in children. • Asnuntuck Community College has created an Asnuntuck Substitute Teacher Training Institute in partnership with the Enfield Public Schools and KITE. The Institute offers training to individuals who are currently employed as a substitute teacher and/or those wishing to become a substitute teacher in the future. Instruction is given on a variety of classroom management skills, including strategies for working with special needs children, and how to handle emergency situations. The coursework is designed for students interested in substitute teaching in Pre-K through grade two classrooms. • First Readers is a unique town-wide program that recognizes and celebrates a key milestone in learning becoming a reader! Once a child has been cert