May 1, 2013

Early Childhood Resource Center improves language skills for both Hispanic American parents and their children

The Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) launched a unique Hispanic Outreach Program in September 2012. The program provides Hispanic American children with kindergarten readiness skills through weekly sessions while their parents learn English as a Second Language (ESL) at the same time through a unique collaboration with the Canton City Schools.

The program evolved from a monthly storytelling program for Hispanic families that began in 2011. On their evaluations, parents responded that they appreciated the gatherings, but wanted to learn English while their 3- to 5-year-olds were benefitting from early childhood education.

“This dual learning approach is a win-win for parents and children,” said Sister Karen Lindenberger, who coordinates the outreach program at St. Anthony All Saints parish. “It immerses children in an atmosphere where they have to understand English and speak it. At the same time, their parents gain essential ESL skills and begin to blend into the Canton community and develop relationships within their new culture.”

As many as 15 to 20 parents and children attend the free weekly kindergarten readiness and ESL classes, with transportation provided by the St. Anthony All Saints parish van for families who need it.

“There are nearly 7,000 Hispanics in Stark County,” explained Sister Karen. “There are other excellent ESL classes offered in the county, but they are held during work hours and do not offer transportation or child education. This has proven to be a magnificent arrangement.”

This article appeared on page 6 of the inaugural edition of the “ECRC Community Chronicle” newsletter. Please click on the link to read the full newsletter. The Early Childhood Resource Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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