“What does fatherhood mean to you?” and “What do you most want for your child’s education?” These are among the questions that participants in an Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) early learning event recently pondered together. The event, “Fathers and Father Figures Kindergarten Readiness Conversation and Celebration,” was the brainchild of teacher Ms. DaMonica Robinson, and was held at OUSD’s Lockwood Child Development Center.
High quality early learning and care opportunities lay the foundation for school readiness. Therefore, connections between school districts and early childhood programs are critical to successful community partnerships that support positive child and family outcomes.
We’ve just completed the fourth year of the Oakland Early Learning Symposium! This year, we focused on our core value of upholding justice and every form of necessary inclusion. November’s Symposium topic was “Partnering with Families of Children with Special Needs.” With over 100 participants in attendance, we heard updates from Theresa Lozach, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) Special Education and Ben Braun, Regional Center of the East Bay and learned how to connect families to services through First 5 Alameda County’s Help Me Grow program and BANANAS, Inc. Plus, participants had the opportunity to break into small groups with peer facilitators to discuss specific strategies to support children and families.
Family navigators are a critical part of Oakland’s early childhood ecosystem. They help families find resources to meet basic needs, address barriers in service provision, and understand many different parent perspectives. OSSS recently led a research project focused on how to support family navigators and understand their needs.