First Years First

The goal of the community Foundation’s First Years First early childhood development initiative is to support optimal learning and development of children birth through preschool so children enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Our Children, Our Priority

At its core, the Initiative strives to provide our youngest children and their caregivers with the developmentally strong start in life they need to succeed, or risk not only their future, but our collective future, as well.

That is the mandate that the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain embraced in 2005 when it established First Years First, a long-term investment in preparing our children for success in school and in life by enhancing their early childhood development experience.

First Years First focuses on three key strategies:

Plainville caregivers participating in Conscious Discipline, a researched-based child development training that increases social-emotional learning, discipline and self-regulation.

  • Strengthen Social Emotional Learning (SEL) among young children to support school readiness and success. Provide SEL training and/or enrichment activities to support parents/caregivers, teachers and other adults that work with young children.
  • Strengthen Parents and Caregivers skills: 1) increase knowledge of child/brain development and the lasting impact of high quality early childhood education, 2) support deepening relationships between caregivers and young children that increase Social Emotional Learning and incorporates it within the family, 3) external activities or enrichment such as workshops, seminars or other caregiver training.
  • Skill Development in early math, writing, and literacy for families with young children.

Central CT Family Literacy Center (CCFLC) combines adult ESL or GED classes with programming to develop early literacy skills for children through structured play and parenting education.

First Years First embodies partnerships and a collaborative approach to achieve measurable change. Our leadership and investment in early childhood development help to ensure that young children receive the skills, advantages and opportunities that come with a healthy start. Some examples:

  • Family Resource Centers, literacy initiatives and community partnerships made possible largely through Foundation leadership and funding are helping more local children enter kindergarten ready to learn.
  • Participation with the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, a group of funders that work to support creation of a coordinated system of early care, education and child development in Connecticut.

The Southington Family Resource Center offers families programming that helps preschool children and their caregivers build a strong foundation for learning and enhance all areas of development.

Partnerships and collaboration are key to the success of First Years First. Additional funders and collaborators include the American Savings Foundation, United Way of Northeastern and Central Connecticut, Community Chest of New Britain and Berlin, Coalition for New Britain’s Youth, Early Childhood Alliance, Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington, Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut, Consolidated School District of New Britain,  Plainville Public Schools, and Southington Public Schools.

For more information about First Years First, please call or e-mail Joeline Wruck, Director of Community Initiatives and Program Services, at 860.229.6018, x307.

Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington

Joanne Kelleher Director

The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is a proud sponsor of the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington (ECCS). ECCS 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.

Please click here for more information.