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The Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington (ECCS) recently received funding through the Southington Community Well-Being Grant Initiative from the Bradley Henry Barnes & Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust at the Main Street Community Foundation.
This grant funds the ECCS’s health, safety, and well-being initiatives that support Southington’s young children and educate their caregivers. Each area in the program focuses on a different topic, but all will be delivered via education at events, the ECCS website, social media channels and/or advertising.
1. Mental health – Education about anxiety, stress, the impact of trauma, the use of technology on brain development, ways to handle challenging behavior, and social and emotional competence. Guidance on finding resources. A four-part workshop series called Parenting with a CBT Perspective will also be offered to introduce parents to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) basics. It will cover disciplining issues, rewards and consequences, praise, the Thoughts/Feelings/Actions model, and dealing with child anxiety. These workshops will target caregivers of preschool and elementary-aged children. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, fifty percent of all lifetime mental illnesses start by age 14, so it is important to identify and treat this issue early.
2. Nutrition – Education about healthy foods and eating tips. Continued promotion of the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Habits initiative which uses evidence-based strategies to increase healthy eating and physical activity and reduce screen time. Childhood obesity is a continuing concern and has worsened during the pandemic.
3. Development concerns – Education about how to receive special education services and the transition from the Birth to Three program to Southington Public Schools. Continued promotion and support of the free SPARKLER Mobile mobile app to Southington families and childcare providers. Sparkler is the first approved mobile and integrated implementation of the Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ®). ASQ provides reliable, accurate developmental and social-emotional screening for children between birth and age 6. Drawing on parents’ expert knowledge, ASQ has been specifically designed to pinpoint developmental progress and catch delays in young children—paving the way for meaningful next steps in learning, intervention, or monitoring. Sparkler was launched in town with custom enrollment codes for each interested childcare center or nursery school and the code “Southington” for all other families.
4. Safety –Education about childhood safety issues such as helmet usage, fire prevention, unsafe consumer products, lead paint, best sleep practices, childproof storage of cleaning supplies, guns and drugs, and a car seat safety check event with the Southington Police Department. Laws and best practices around childhood safety are continuously changing. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, when a state begins allowing the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes, as Connecticut did in 2021, an uptick occurs in pediatric ER visits by children who have ingested THC-laden edibles. Cleaning products comprise more than 11
percent of all pediatric poison exposures. The use of bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by 88 percent. Since 2018, CT has required children fifteen years of age to wear headgear when operating a bicycle, scooter, or skateboard or wearing roller skates or in-line skates. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that cribs, playpens, and inclined infant sleep products were associated with 83% of fatalities reported. The Safe Sleep for Babies Act became Federal law in May 2022 to prohibit the manufacture and sale of inclined sleepers and crib bumpers, but those products are still being used.
The four focus areas of this grant, titled Supporting the Health, Safety and Well-being of Southington’s Young Children, were selected based on feedback solicited at prior events, projects with other organizations, strategic planning, and previous activities.
The Bradley Henry Barnes and Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust was established by the late Bradley Henry Barnes of Southington to support the healthcare needs of Southington residents. The Southington Community Well-Being Grant Initiative is a program that supports nonprofit organizations that operate programs for the overall well-being and betterment of Southington residents.
About the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington
The Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington is a group of committed educators, parents, grandparents, healthcare and childcare providers, business owners, civic organizations, and members of the community who are deeply invested in the growth, development, and academic success of young children in Southington. The Collaborative’s mission is that “all Southington children will enter school ready to learn.” ECCS is dedicated to three goals: 1) Advocating for high-quality preschool and childcare; 2) Empowering parents and families through workshops and educational programs; and 3) Being a wide-ranging resource for community members on the subject of early childhood care and education. The Collaborative receives operating support from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, which also acts as its fiscal sponsor. For more information on the Collaborative, contact Joanne Kelleher, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.southingtonearlychildhood.org.
About the Main Street Community Foundation
The Main Street Community Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for both present and future generations in the communities served by encouraging and promoting gift planning, prudent stewardship of assets, effective grantmaking, and community leadership. A nonprofit public charity, created by private citizens, the foundation works with donors who wish to build permanent charitable endowments to support the communities of Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington, and Wolcott. For more information, visit www.mainstreetfoundation.org.