It’s a Thursday afternoon, and class is in session at Josefina’s small home in San Mateo. Her son Hosea, sits on her lap as they slowly turn the pages of a picture book. “Qué es esto? What is this?” she asks, pointing to a horse. Next to her on the couch, the family’s Case Manager, Claudia, sits beaming. The family is part of our home-based Early Learning program, an approach that empowers parents to be their children’s first teachers. For nearly a year, Claudia has made weekly visits to the family’s home, providing one-on-one coaching to help Josefina build a strong foundation for Hosea’s early development.
“Parents, family, these are the most important parts of a young child’s life,” explains Claudia. “So, we open their eyes to opportunities to teach their children at the grocery store, the park, cooking dinner. We show them that learning does not begin or end at the classroom door.” That unique approach means Claudia doesn’t lead activities during her visits. Instead, she makes sure Josefina has the support she needs to take charge. During today’s lesson, Hosea is meowing and mooing his way toward better speech—the easy animal sounds helping him learn to form more complex words.
Between the “classroom” activities, Josefina and her son are forming a bond crucial to his future success. With his mom by his side, Hosea is gaining the confidence and self-esteem he will need to accomplish the unbelievably great things he is capable of.