This NBI Helps Children Aged Birth to Five Remain in Schools
KenCrest’s New Business Ideas, Child Care SWIFT Support, helps children with developmental delays remain in early learning centers in PA.
By Sydney Kerelo
Approximately five years ago, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) announced that children with developmental delays in Pennsylvania need to be included in their neighborhood’s early learning centers (ELCs) and preschools. While this was helpful for some students, it was hindering a lot.
Early Intervention (EI) providers discovered that many children from birth to five years old were experiencing challenging behaviors because of this and were on the brink of expulsion.
And one KenCrest employee stepped in.
Roseann Adamo, the Executive Director of the Birth to Five Home and Community-Based Program, applied for a New Business Ideas (NBI) grant for her Child Care SWIFT Support program. This service helps children with developmental delays on the brink of expulsion receive the help they need to stay in their schools.
“We know children in PA are facing expulsion,” says Adamo. “SWIFT Support partnered with a large ELC in Philly—Bright Side Academy—to meet with the Vice President to participate in this new venture. We developed a brochure and a referral form to give to centers, and if a child is going to get suspended, they send us the referral, and we come out within 48 hours to spend time with the child and teachers to identify the concerns.”
From there, a special instructor works with the teacher in the classroom to identify why that behavior is occurring. They work together to develop strategies to decrease those behaviors through coaching, demonstrations, and relationships with the teachers.
“When we started this work, we said we’d only support children birth to five receiving EI services,” says Adamo. “But that’s ridiculous; children that don’t qualify to apply to EI services should have the same services as everyone else. So now we support all children.”
RELATED: Who is KenCrest: Roseann Adamo
“The mission at KenCrest is about inclusion,” adds Adamo. “We must take a stand on that and help build relationships at the centers. Our special instructors spend time at the ELCs in Philly so that they understand the students and don’t disrupt the classroom.”
The Child Care SWIFT program started two years ago when Adamo discovered the need in PA. To start the program, Adamo had to summarize her idea to the New Business Ideas committee leaders. Then, once that was approved, she created a business plan highlighting where the funding would come from, timelines, etc.
One thing that Adamo fought for was that all children should be successful in their ELC, and parents should be able to go to work without fear that their children will not be cared for. OCDEL conducted research showing that children expelled from preschool don’t have a good school experience because they tend to have feelings of failure.
“Children know when they’re told to leave,” says Adamo. “It helps them emotionally when they can have a successful start in the ELCs.”
To participate in the Child Care Swift program, parents must meet with their school’s administrator to get a referral for the program.