Prov. receives grant to teach a child’s first teachers: parents

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Providence School District is being awarded a $3 million federal grant to help encourage local families to get involved in their children’s education.

The program the grant will benefit, entitled “Empowering Families,” is centered around a class for parents.

The grant and program launch were announced at the Sgt. Cornel Young Jr. and Charlotte Woods Elementary School on Prairie Avenue in Providence Tuesday morning.

The parents of 2,580 families will be asked to take part in a class called “Mind in the Making,” in order to learn about ways they can help their kids be school-ready. The course will help parents teach their kids so-called “executive function skills” in the home — “skills that manage our emotions, intellect and behavior, such as focus and self-control,” said Christina O’Reilly, the school department’s director of communications, in a news release Tuesday.

Leslie Gell, the director of Ready to Learn Providence, a program of The Providence Plan, said as part of the program, an early learning nook — a small-scale library — has been developed at the Student Registration Center for kids and parents waiting to register. “It is a point of invitation… It tells parents the schools care about them and want their involvement. And by reaching them eight months before their children enter kindergarten, it’s a great opportunity to tell them about some of the ways they can prepare their children for school.”

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Education, and is being matched by the United Way of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

240 teachers are also set to take part in the program over the next four years, the department said.

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