The Appleton Even Start Family Literacy program celebrated a remarkable milestone last week – 25 years of serving parents and children through a terrific partnership between the Appleton Area School District and Fox Valley Technical College. Adults come to this program to learn English and earn a high school credential, as well as employability skills. Parenting skills are also a significant component of this program.
At the same time, the young children of these adults ranging in ages from 6 months to 5 years are served at the center through early childhood education experiences. Having parents and their children participating in interactive literacy activities has proven to be very effective in supporting the growth and development of both child and adult together. Today this program is located at the Community Early Learning Center in Appleton.
Parents and children are also exposed to many aspects of the community including field trips to the Appleton Public Library, the Building for Kids, local farms, and others. Special events such as Octoberfest and the Appleton Christmas Parade, as well as families participating in swimming lessons, are also among the many experiences involved in this program.
Hundreds of families in our community have been served by the Even Start program over the years, having been strengthened by their experiences, advancing their education as parents and adults, and ensuring that children get off to the best start possible very early in life. Congratulations to our partners at the Appleton Area School District and to our FVTC faculty and staff who have been so dedicated to the success of participants over the years. It’s always a joy to visit this program!
Program instructor, Susan Hunsader, reflecting on this milestone shared the following: “Our community is blessed to have a program that educates the whole family and allows for parents to not only gain an education for themselves, but to learn that they are their child’s first and most important teacher.”
I couldn’t agree more!