Early Childhood Liaison Program

This program was started in 2009 by the Hot Springs County School District #1 (HSCSD #1) to help prepare the community’s children for success in kindergarten. At that time, the school district found that more than half of their incoming kindergartners did not have the attitudes, skills and behaviors needed for a great start in school. As a result, the school district created an Early Childhood Liaison position to connect the communities’ various early care and education programs and families with the school district.

Amy Ready is HSCSD #1’s Liaison and ensures that everyone in the community is working together to prepare young children for success in school. Amy makes sure that the communities’ early childhood stakeholders are on the same page, know what kindergarten readiness looks like, and are positioned with activities and information to do their part to help prepare children for success in school and in life.

The Liaison’s responsibilities include supporting and maintaining curriculum alignment between pre-k and k programs to ensure that what children are doing before kindergarten helps them be ready for school. Also, this Liaison assists with any of the school’s incoming kindergarten camps, tours, visits, etc. Participating in activities that are designed to make children and parents more comfortable with their new school and the new set of expectations really helps children and families show up ready to succeed. Finally, the Liaison engages families through child/caregiver programs, such as “Moms and Tots,” where the Liaison models positive activities for families that they can replicate in the home environment for continued interaction and healthy development.

Since creating the Liaison position, HSCSD #1 has seen a significant reduction in required interventions. Today, none of the kindergartners require reading intervention. At the beginning of the program, the elementary school had nine paraprofessionals to provide interventions. Today only one paraprofessional is required.

Several other school districts have started this program, including Park County SD #1 (Powell) and #6 (Cody) , Sheridan County #1 (Ranchester), Converse County #1 (Douglas), Uinta County #6 (Lyman), while other communities are currently working to create similar programs.

Book & a Bite

This program was started in 2011 by the Living Streams Fellowship Church in Casper for the purpose of helping the community, promoting literacy, and strengthening family relationships. Book & a Bite consists of several components that support children and families through a structured evening that engages them in healthful family activities. At each event, families share a hot meal together, enjoy a book read aloud by a celebrity reader, and receive a children’s book and take-home food bags that include recipes for the entire family.

When Book & a Bite first began, the church offered this event once a month to the families of children attending Mills and Mountain View—two of Casper’s Title I elementary schools. At the event’s inception, the church thought that if 40 people came the event would be a success: 105 attended the first program. At the end of the 2013-14 school year, more than 400 people were attending events!

The Book & a Bite program has been a monumental success. This framework has been used to create similar programs in Platte and Goshen Counties; in Cheyenne, Rock Springs, and Gillette as Eat. Read. Grow.; in Albany County as Dine & Discover; and in Douglas as Care, Share, Prepare. Weston County and Sweetwater County are working on developing Book & a Bite programs in their communities as well.

Contact us here for more information about this program or to submit information about your community!

Practice Kindergarten

Practice Kindergarten is a framework that was started by the Boulder Journey School and has been adopted by Albany County. This program was developed in response to the community’s desire to ensure that all children are prepared for success in school and that they experience a smooth transition into their formal school environment. While some incoming kindergarten students in Albany County attend the school district’s Step Ahead transition not all children are able to participate. Practice Kindergarten was designed to help children and families in pre-K and home environments prepare students both academically and socially for their school experience.

Practice Kindergarten is a framework that generates a dialogue between families, educators, and early care and education professionals about preparing and practicing for kindergarten. One of the ways Albany County has achieved this conversation is by creating a venue for the families of current kindergartners to offer advice about kindergarten to the families of incoming kindergartners that they wished they had known before sending their first child to school. The advice offered is practical, easy to utilize, and helpful.

Once this advice has been shared with parents, families, and early care and educational professionals (center- and home-based), the pre-k providers work with kindergarten teachers and staff to identify actions and activities for parents, families, and early care and educational professionals to use to quite literally practice attitudes, skills, and behaviors necessary for success in kindergarten. School districts and families are encouraged to use a Kindergarten Visitation Booklet to strengthen the conversation about and practice for school. This frameworks works to ensure that children and families are prepared for success on the first day of school and beyond. Contact us for more information about this program or to submit information about your community!

Laramie Early Learning Cooperative

The Laramie Early Learning Cooperative (LELC) understands that early childhood education is a shared responsibility within a community where parents, children, and educators are key players. In light of parents being the ultimate “key players”, the LELC maintains a “PARENT + ME = FREE” policy in which parent cooperative sessions will never be assessed tuition costs.

A love for learning is a critical component in the education of a young child. Maria Montessori said, “The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.” By recognizing, respecting, and capitalizing on each child’s individuality and natural curiosity, this will be achieved.

These programs are offered in Laramie for free or for purchase under the following qualifications:

  • FREE to those who meet TANF Eligibility Requirements (see applications below),
  • FREE to those that have a parent or guardian attending along with the child or
  • Available for purchase to people that cannot make either of the above options work.

Profound Discoveries (Preschool Program)
A preschool program with a parent cooperative focus that provides children ages 3-5 years with a rich environment to stimulate child curiosity and prompt opportunities to explore, create, and discover. This program is located in the Laramie Community Recreation Center’s Child Care Room and takes place Monday through Thursday from 12:30-3:00 PM. There will be various opportunities offered on Fridays as well.

Powerful Interactions (Infant & Toddler Program)
An infant toddler program with a parent cooperative focus that provides young children ages 12 months-3 years with interactions and experiences that enhance and enrich early childhood development. This program is located in the Laramie Community Recreation Center’s Child Care Room and takes place Monday through Thursday from 8:00-11:00 AM.

To discover if you qualify for either of these programs, please fill out one of the TANF applications below. Additional information can be found in the brochure links.

TANF 16-17 Application ChecklistTANF (16-17) Preschool Enrollment Application16-17 Infant-Toddler TANF ApplicationLELC Powerful Interactions (I/T) brochure 2016-17LELC Profound Discoveries (Pre) brochure 2016-17

******Open Enrollment will occur at the Laramie Recreation Center on August 10th, 2016 from 10 am-12pm or at the Farmer’s Market on August 12th from 3pm-7pm. Spots will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis. ******