The ESD 112 1-2-3 Grow and Learn program did some growing over the 2015-16 school year, and has continued to grow this fall, adding several new group locations in Vancouver as well as a new district. The free program is now hosted at 16 school sites in the LaCenter, Vancouver and Washougal districts.
Offering free parent and child play groups and classes, 1-2-3 Grow and Learn services help make a difference for families with children birth–5 years old. The groups provide early social and educational experiences that are aligned with state standards and lay the foundation for later school involvement.
By connecting with families before children reach preschool or school age, staff are also able to identify early-on children who could benefit from developmental interventions. In the 2015-16 school year, 1-2-3 Grow and Learn staff completed 64 developmental screenings, which resulted in 13 referrals to the ESD’s Early Intervention program.
“It has been very exciting to see the expansion that the 1-2-3 Grow and Learn program has experienced over the last couple of years,” says Program Director Tina Vessey. “I am thrilled to know that we are beginning our largest program year yet and will be reaching many more children and families, helping to support them in fostering school readiness skills and preparing the youngest children in our community for school.”
Parents and other caregivers are strong supporters of the program year after year, contributing to its success and growth. One parent shared recently:
Before attending Grow & Learn my son had horrible anxiety around other children his age. The staff were so understanding and helpful. He has truly blossomed over the past 6 months. He no longer has anxiety, he talks to the other children and goes up in front of the crowd for sharing! This program was a God-send for my family.
In addition to socialization and school readiness, the program is involved in leading-edge child development research, having partnered with a researcher at the University of Washington as an innovation cluster site for Frontiers of Innovation–a Harvard study designed to use science to improve the daily lives of families and children. Through this partnership, 1-2-3 Grow and Learn offers a parenting class to benefit families with preschool-aged children.