First4ME

You might have heard that there is going to be a hearing on Thursday, Feb. 13th in August on LD 1760 / First4ME a public-private partnership model for early care and education and workforce development. 

The bill is modeled after the national Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships. Maine currently has a partnership between the Maine Early Learning Investment Group (MELIG) and Educare Central Maine (ECM) that follows the model. MELIG’s selected the Skowhegan community in Somerset County, as its first Elevate Maine partnership initiative. Its objectives are to elevate early education to the highest in standards and practice, to elevate student achievement for optimal success in school and beyond and to elevate the quality of Maine’s workforce. 

While we can read the language of the bill and research it’s background, it’s nice to be able to hear a first hand experience from a fellow provider that has participated in this type of partnership model.

Chrissie Davis, the Chair of the Family Child Care Association of Maine (FCCAM), has been a provider for the Home Start/Elevate Maine pilot project in Central Maine for 5 years. Here is a brief look at her thoughts about her engagement with the pilot.

I am so thankful that I decided to participate in Elevate Maine. I have developed a wonderful professional relationship with my Coach who comes to my home weekly to support my work with children, their families and my professional development. I receive support for curriculum implementation, child assessments, child nutrition, understanding stages of development, supporting children’s individual needs, strategies for learning environment organization and children’s behavior management, to name a few. My Coach also assists me in working with parents to strengthen the home-school connection and assist them in understanding the complicated state child care subsidy system. I also receive additional financial support for indoor and outdoor materials and supplies and have access to specialists in education, health, nutrition, disabilities and family engagement. Elevate Maine has offered connections to other family and center Providers through joint learning communities. In short, Elevate Maine supports all facets of quality, professionalizes FCC, and helps us develop our small businesses.

More Providers and the children and families they serve should have access to similar supports to promote the health and school readiness of children and grow a quality workforce.