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learn / 2016

Early Childhood Education Options: Using Public Service Mini-Courses to Educate and Empower Families

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Parents Education League

PEL will launch a series of accessible, content-rich, dynamic and purposeful “Public Service Mini-Courses ” for families to educate, empower, and provide access to early childhood education choices.

Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Child Care Alliance of LA, LAUSD Early Childhood Education Division, Westside Directors Group, Los Angeles Area Preschools Consortium, National Association of the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC)

Please describe your project proposal.

LA families struggle to access comprehensive, objective information on school choices.

With the support of LA2050, and in collaboration with leading childhood experts and area preschools, PEL will create a series of accessible, dynamic, purposeful and content-rich “Public Service Mini-Courses on Early Childhood Education” to educate families on the importance and purpose of early childhood education AND the methodology and criteria to find the best fitting early childhood environments.

Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Early education
  • Student education pipeline

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • City of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?

While, fortunately, there are many educational options (private, public, magnet, charter, etc.) in Los Angeles, families struggle to find the best fitting schools. Navigating these choices is well-known to be confusing, time-intensive and overwhelming. As a non-profit organization and Google-Grant recipient, PEL provides families no-cost opportunities to learn more about schools and educational options via its website and collaborative live events (speakers, workshops, panels, fairs). PEL’s goal is to provide families a one-stop educational resource which is current, comprehensive and unbiased.

PEL continues to thrive because it works in collaboration with families, schools and educational organizations to produce and deliver the most accurate and timely programming from the source. The result is confident parents with ownership in their decisions. Equipped with knowledge, families can make the best choices for their children–and finding the right fit for schooling has proven long-term results.

And, school choice begins at the early stages of childhood. Decades-long research shows the impacts of early childhood education on future educational success, along with the need for easily accessible, high-quality early childhood centers ( PEL understands that one of the first questions new parents are often asked is “where are you sending your child to school”? PEL seeks to alleviate the stress and anxiety of the school choice selection process and create pathways to ACCESS information about early childhood education.

This pilot program will consist of a series of 8 dynamic, accessible, content-rich, multi-media “Public Service Mini-Courses” that will be broadcast throughout the greater Los Angeles-area in a multitude of languages, including English and Spanish.

The content will be created in collaboration with leading childhood experts and local preschool directors, to include research-based evidence on the importance of early childhood education on the future, long-term educational success of children. The Mini-Courses will include the where’s and how’s of finding the best fitting preschool or early childhood center, criteria to look for in a school, the costs of schooling, including tuition-free options, timelines and application processes, and understanding your child’s unique learning style as it impacts future educational choices.

The 8 Mini-Courses will be delivered via a number of platforms, including online, radio, podcast, and webinar, and will be navigable and user-friendly at 5-7 minutes each.

With the support of LA2050, we can help families feel armed with information and confident about their school choice process, AND we can reach families in every part of the Los Angeles area. We believe parent engagement improves, kids thrive, and schools have increased buy-in and participation from their families WHEN children begin their education in the BEST fitting school environments.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

PEL aims to 1) reach 20,000 families, in at least 15 zip codes, within the next 12 months and 2) increase parent confidence, understanding, accessibility and satisfaction with their early childhood school choices.

We will use Google Analytics and tracking to gather data on our reach, and adjust our marketing and dissemination of materials accordingly throughout the year. We will also survey our users (before and after using the Mini-Courses) to gather the following quantitative and qualitative closed and open-ended data:

-Number of families participating in the programs (viewing the Mini-Courses) -Increase in families discovery of new early childhood programs and schools -Increase in student success in chosen school or program -Increase in parental confidence with educational decisions and placement -Understanding factors that improved parental confidence -Families’ satisfaction with the content of the Mini-Courses, including ease of accessibility -Families’ satisfaction with enrolled school -Collaborator satisfaction with the final Mini-Courses -Percent of families that seek additional resources and education about their school choices

In addition, we will gather feedback through small focus groups and one-on-one follow up.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research