Parent / Family Support Services
Bright Beginnings is dedicated to meeting the immediate needs of children and families living in homelessness.
Bright Beginnings is deeply committed to supporting our children’s parents and working closely with them to help their children succeed. We require all parents to attend the first half of their child’s first day of school to meet the teachers and to learn about our curriculum. Our monthly parent-teacher meetings keep parents updated on their child’s progress and how they can support their child’s education outside the classroom. Our training programs and events keep parents engaged and active participants at Bright Beginnings. Parents are also encouraged to volunteer in the classrooms, serve as chaperones on field trips, and participate in the Parent Policy Committee, which reviews and approves all programs and operating budgets.
Bright Beginnings offers a unique opportunity for parents interested in working in the field of early childhood development. Through the Parent Aide Program, parents work part-time at Bright Beginnings and gain valuable on-the-job training, while pursuing a Child Development Associate (CDA) certification. Parent Aides participate in all on-site staff development training and receive regular supervision and support in the classroom.
The constant stress of uncertain family conditions is difficult for young children experiencing homelessness. Bright Beginnings helps parents understand the importance of providing a stable home life for their children and helps families make smooth transitions into permanent housing. Once a family moves into permanent housing, their children remain in the program for the remainder of the school year to minimize disruption while our family service team helps parents identify appropriate child development centers in their new neighborhood.
When a child leaves Bright Beginnings to enroll in kindergarten, the family service team helps parents select the most appropriate kindergarten program for their child and obtains all necessary information for enrollment. Social workers accompany parents on visits to new schools prior to enrollment and assist them with the enrollment process. Our teaching staff helps prepare children for the transition to kindergarten by facilitating visits kindergarten classrooms and helping the child to process any fears and anxieties he or she may have.
Therapeutic, Health & Wellness
By providing early intervention to learning disabilities, delays, and health problems, Bright Beginnings ensures that children enter kindergarten ready to learn. All Bright Beginnings students receive therapeutic and health screenings within 45 days of enrollment at Bright Beginnings. Our therapeutic and health screenings help us develop individualized curriculum, health, therapeutic and social service plans for each child. Our free on-site therapeutic services detect and address developmental delays and/or disabilities prevalent in homeless children (i.e. language, speech, motor development and self-regulation.) Bright Beginnings’ therapeutic service team includes clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapist and speech/language pathologists- who work with our children, teachers, and parents to provide in-service training, classroom interventions and on-going consultations.
BBI therapeutic strategy
- Maintain a supportive school environment that cultivates and promotes children’s social/emotional health, a positive self-concept, and appropriate social skills.
- Provide developmental and mental health screenings for all children within 45 days of entry to Bright Beginnings and utilize information from screenings, assessments, and evaluations to individualize the program for each child.
- Provide therapeutic services on site to support children’s development
- Encourage and supporting parents’ active participation in addressing their children’s therapeutic needs with frequent consultations and progress reports.
- Provide on-going training and professional development for teachers on therapeutic, mental health, disability and social-emotional challenges.
Eat Right, Live Well Program
Bright Beginnings cultivates healthy families by through our Eat Right, Live Well Program, which promotes healthy lifestyles, nutrition, healthy eating on a budget, and increased physical activity. Poor families suffer disproportionately from excessive weight, poor nutrition, and chronic poor health and are hardest hit by obesity and its related health complications. Bright Beginnings rectifies hunger and poor nutrition by providing daily well-balanced breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for our children. We build on these nutritionally-balanced meals by teaching students the importance of taking care of their bodies, eating well and getting enough sleep.
Since healthy parents raise healthy children, Bright Beginnings encourages parents to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Through health and wellness workshops, seminars, cooking demonstrations and grocery store trips, families learn realistic ways to eat healthier and exercise on a limited budget. The Eat Right, Live Well Program improves the health and well-being of homeless children and their families through early detection of problems and preventative health screenings conducted by community partners.
Through our Social Services Team, BBI supports the day-to-day social service needs of our families. In conjunction with our community partners, we are able to refer families to the appropriate public and private agencies that support their holistic well being and development.
Our social service offering includes:
- Parent Events, Workshops, Classes
- Family Forum
- Health Advisory Committee
- Parent G.R.O.W.
- Parenting Classes
- Connections – Mothers Only Support Group
- Fatherhood Workshops
- Workforce Week
- WIC Club
- Post-Partum Support Group
- Domestic Violence Support Group
- Special Events (Thanksgiving Baskets, Annual Birth and Baby Fair, Family Fun Day)
Bright Beginnings believes in assisting families in reaching self-sufficiency and pay Parent Aides the DC Living Wage.