Choosing high-quality early childhood education can be a difficult and often emotional decision for families. thread, Alaska’s Child Care Resource and Referral Network, works with families to ensure they are supported in finding high-quality, affordable childcare that will help prepare their children for lifelong success. At the core of quality childcare is a trusting, respectful relationship between the early childhood educator, child and family.
thread’s statewide network of professionals, consisting of its main office in Anchorage, AEYC-SEA in Juneau, Thrivalaska in Fairbanks, and offices in Kenai and Wasilla, are not only committed to supporting Alaska’s families, but also to providing professional development opportunities to the early childhood educators caring for Alaska’s children.
Studies show that the number one indicator of quality early childhood education is the teacher. Prepared early educators engage children with age-appropriate curriculum and learning strategies. To ensure early educators have professional support, thread offers specialized trainings, coaching and one-on-one consultations.
“The biggest benefits to me, as a provider, are the trainings thread offers,” said Belkis Rodriguez of Facility 24 Hours in Anchorage. Belkis, a Spanish speaking provider, is enrolled in Learn & Grow, Alaska’s Quality Recognition and Improvement System (QRIS), housed and managed by thread. Through Learn & Grow, early childhood education programs work through a set of quality standards and activities that ultimately improves the quality of care offered.
Belkis saw a need to organize her classrooms in a way that made sense to the different age groups she cared for. With the help of thread’s Professional Development team, Belkis was able to shape the changes she was looking for while elevating the quality of her program. “I want to be the best educator I can be,” said Belkis. “I think children deserve everything. To teach – to learn to teach – young children. It is wonderful and I love it.”
To help parents guide their children to lifelong success at home, thread connects families with resources to meet their unique needs. Whether it’s through guidance over the phone, parenting workshops, family friendly events, referrals to community resources, or other short-term support, thread is ready to help with these free and bilingual services.
thread also partners with Help Me Grow, a statewide system that provides child development information, parenting education resources, and free child developmental screenings, such as the Ages & Stages Questionnaire.
With expanded training opportunities, a multitude of resources and a focus on quality, thread’s services are building stronger connections with Alaska’s early educators, families, and communities, working together to promote the healthy development of children. For more information on thread’s services to families and early educators, visit threadalaska.org
Thread staff read to children during their annual Book Party in the Park, held each August for local families.
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