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Children sit next to each other on a classroom carpet. One child has her hand extended, thumb raised.


Amanda Gooch

Amanda Gooch

October 1, 2023

Over the last few weeks, we emphasized on our most recent technical assistance following our training with Kristen Balhoff. We have had multiple interactions on the importance of supporting neurodiversity in the classroom with a Brain Smart Start. Together we explored the role of adults during children’s significant “brain building” years. We discovered the positive impact of shifting our perceptions from unconscious reflexes and emotional reactions to conscious, wise responses. We also reviewed practical strategies to nurture a felt sense of safety. We are really enjoying hearing more and more success stories of how you have used our follow up technical assistance in the field.

As we continue to move through our fall season, we wanted to include more in-depth conversations on our upcoming professional development day led by Tammy Pawloski, Professor of Education and Director of the Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty at Francis Marion University. Tammy is an expert on children in poverty and will guide us as we learn more about bridging the socioeconomic needs of our students and the incredible role we all play in that progress.

ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, and represents the growing number of families who are unable to afford the basics of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology. These workers often struggle to keep their own households from financial ruin, while keeping our local communities running. The number of children growing up in financial hardship in the U.S. is drastically higher than is widely reported. According to the outdated Federal Poverty Level, 16% of children in the U.S. lived in poverty in 2019. Yet United For ALICE data shows that another 33% — twice as many — were also growing up in hardship, in households that earned above the poverty level but less than what is costs to afford the basics.

To learn more from United Way and the ALICE in Focus Series, please click on the link below

United Way: ALICE

It’s going to be an incredible and interactive time at our next professional development day. We welcome Tammy Pawloski as she presents “Why Poverty Matters - How WE Can Matter More” on Saturday October 14th 2023. Together we will understand the potential negative impact of financial poverty on brain development and school and life success; redefine poverty as the absence of any resource (financial, socio-emotional, physical, cognitive, or spiritual) that creates barriers to school and life success; and take away authentic strategies for removing barriers that emerge when resources are absent. I can’t wait to see you all there.

We thank you for your dedication and willingness to pour into the next generation through education as we elevate and promote the highest quality early childhood development and education in Indian River County.

Wishing you the best,

Amanda & Todd

A preschool student jumps, watched by his teacher and classmates
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