The Daily Item
SUNBURY — The Early Learning Investment Committee of the Susquehanna River Valley (ELIC) is seeking sponsors to help area early childcare/preschool providers implement a social-emotional skills curriculum to their preschoolers to help prevent bullying starting in the preschool years. Mike Piecuch, District Attorney and a sponsor in its pilot year states: “We know that what children learn at a very early age has lasting impacts throughout their lifetime. By providing these curriculum to early childhood professionals, we are teaching preschoolers empathy, coping and friendship skills that we believe help children develop positive relationships, help bystanders intervene when observing a bullying situation and prevent bullying victims from ever consider taking their own lives.”
In the second year of ELIC’s “Nice Never Hurts” initiative, Discovery Preschool at the Middlecreek Area Community Center in Beaver Springs, Greater Susquehanna Valley YMCA Day Care Center located in Milton, Heaven’s Little Angels located in Middleburg, and Kid’s Korner Learning Center in Sunbury will implement Second Step. Second Step is a research based curriculum that is easy to use and endorsed by the state Office of Child Development and Early Learning. At the preschool level, the curriculum teaches social emotional skills such as identifying and coping with feelings, empathy, friendship and problem-solving skills and skills for learning. Teachers explore themed lessons through the use of puppets, songs and activities which correspond with 5 Units taught over a 28-week period. Materials include a teaching guide and on-line resources for families to expand the lessons learned to home.
Positive results have been realized in the pilot programs first year. Greater Susquehanna Valley YMCA-Sunbury Day Care Director Joy Hoke states: “This program has been fantastic. We have seen children who used to become physically aggressive by hitting and kicking now say they are frustrated and angry. They are able to calm themselves down before escalating to a fight.” Robinwood Day Care Director Susan Smith Milley embraces the program. “The teaching methods are practical, presented in a fun way and can be taught not only in the classroom, but out on the playground or during lunch. Teachers can use the methods learned from Second Step to help children cope and problem solve throughout their day.”
Karen Ulp, coordinator of Early Care and Education Coalition of Northumberland, Snyder and Union Counties states: “To make the most of the curriculum, we felt strongly that directors and teachers receive face-to-face training. The programs receive 5 hours of training within the first six – 8 months. Another component to the training is observation and consultation at about 6-8 weeks of implementation so that programs can receive constructive feedback on what they are doing well and tips for improvement.”
Businesses or individuals can sponsor a curriculum for $300, help with cost of training for $150 or give any amount towards a kit or training. To sponsor the full cost of a kit and two-year implementation follow up is $750. For more information to become a sponsor, or to implement the curriculum at a childcare program in Northumberland, Snyder or Union Counties, contact Karen Ulp, ECE Coordinator, Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way at 988-0993 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.