During this time of social distancing and the legitimate scare of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to develop a sense of "normalcy" for our little ones (keiki). We can do this by keeping them on a schedule, making sure that we are listening to their concerns and meet their unmet needs. Due to COVID-19 preschools in Hawai'i have shut its doors to instruction, however this preschool has continued to operate by meeting the needs of the homeless and at-risk homeless families they serve.
The Ka Pa'alana Homeless Family Education Program (Ka Pa'alana) serves over 700 children and 700 caregivers through an innovative traveling preschool that provides life necessities, adult and parent/caregiver education, PACT (two-gen preschool) and center-based care for at-risk and homeless families. This unique preschool is NAEYC accredited and employs the National Centers for Families Learning (NCFL) evidence-based and federally registered best-practice comprehensive family education model. Ka Pa'alana is also trained in trauma-informed care and practices trauma-informed strategies.
Ka Pa'alana has created "keiki kits" that include interactive preschool activities, materials, TIC tips and wellness and resilience strategies for caregivers. These kits are dropped off directly at homeless camps, shelters, low-income and public housing units. For other unaccessible areas, Ka Pa'alana has created a "drive-thru" experience for families to pick up their kits. Teachers use an app (ClassDojo) to help parents/caregivers with lessons. The Ka Pa'alana staff also conducts regular check-ins with families through mobile phones to see how they are coping during this time and if they have any needs.
Please share the innovative ideas that your early learning environments are using to meet the needs of your families and young ones.
Each week, I will be featuring what preschools in Hawai'i are doing for their keiki and families.
*We are posting a community pic from a drive thru location at a self-help home community- we are respecting our "houseless" families privacy and not posting any pics from those locations.