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Virtual workshops for early childhood professionals will build career and caring skills needed during pandemic and beyond


Responding to COVID-19 and possible center re-openings, Detroit Public TV, Kresge and School Readiness Consulting offer free interactive programs beginning August 20

An innovative virtual program for professionals caring for young children during the pandemic – whether in home-based care, day care centers or pre-schools – will soon be available online and free of charge through a combined effort of Detroit Public Television, The Kresge Foundation and School Readiness Consulting (SRC).

The program – Tools for Hope: Equipping and Elevating Detroit’s Early Childhood Professionals – will begin August 20 and continue through the end of the year, with two to three monthly installments.

The presentations will take place in a virtual meeting that can be viewed at the website, as well as on the websites of Detroit Public TVHope Starts Here and other partner organizations. Presentations will also be available for live viewing on Facebook. Sessions will be taped and made available for later viewers.

Tools for Hope was created in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the likely reopening of early childhood centers in the coming months. It was developed in conjunction with parents, educators and nonprofits in the child development field to enhance the skills, knowledge and credentials of those charged with caring and teaching young children in Detroit.

Although targeted at professionals, the series will be relevant to parents and anyone intimately involved in the care and education of small children

The series will offer sessions on topics such as how to better support children and families through the trauma and dislocation caused by the pandemic, how to incorporate virtual learning and how to maintain health and safety protocols when reopening.

“Over the last few months, we heard loud and clear from Detroit’s early childhood educators that with centers slowly reopening, they wanted more professional development opportunities to help them adapt to new realities,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, Detroit program managing director at The Kresge Foundation. “We are grateful to partners across the city that have teamed up to offer their expertise to support the unsung heroes of the pandemic – early childhood educators who have worked tirelessly to support Detroit’s children and families.”

These professional learning sessions will be led by Detroit-based organizations with deep experience serving children and families, including members of the Detroit ECE Support initiative, a cohort of nine organizations providing whole-child, whole-family services through early childhood centers and other settings.

Among the topics to be covered:

  • Early Childhood Leadership
  • Family Engagement
  • Healthy Living
  • Infection Control
  • Kindergarten Transitions
  • Preparing for and Recovering from Epidemics
  • Small Business Management
  • Trauma and Mental Health
  • Understanding Policy and How to Drive Policy Change
  • Using Technology to Support Parents and Families
  • Virtual Teaching and Learning
  • And more

“Research has long established the importance of positive early childhood experiences in building a solid foundation for a happy and successful life,” said Rich Homberg, president and CEO of Detroit Public TV. “This exciting program represents an essential new resource for professionals who care for our children, who work with them every day to enrich and enhance their young lives. And given our current health emergency, it couldn’t come at a better time.”

The Tools for Hope series is a partnership of Detroit Public TV, School Readiness Consulting, The Kresge Foundation and Hope Starts Here. It builds on an engagement and design process led by School Readiness Consulting, which has worked with partners in Detroit since 2018, listening to the needs of early childhood professionals and the ways in which community-led efforts can advance their priorities.

The series also builds on the implementation of the Hope Starts Here framework, developed through an extensive community engagement process and launched in 2017. Now in its third year, Hope Starts Here serves as a connector of resources and efforts to position Detroit as a city that puts its young children first.

The expansion of high-quality, comprehensive supports for Detroit’s early childhood professionals is one of six imperatives in the framework.

“As our city has adapted throughout this pandemic, early childhood professionals have found new ways to educate and support our children and their families,” said Denise Smith, Hope Starts Here’s implementation director. “We have heard from these professionals what they need to best serve Detroit’s children. We hope this is just one of many ways we can support them and tell their stories.”

In addition to the professional learning series, Tools for Hope will highlight the stories of Detroit’s early childhood professionals who have continued to serve children and families during the pandemic.

“Center directors, teachers, paraprofessionals, social workers and others involved in the care and education of our young children play an essential role in the best of times and play a key role as we try to return to some semblance of normality in this incredibly difficult time,” said Smith. “They need to share their stories with one another to know they are not alone. The broader public, too, needs to hear about their heroic contributions.”

Their stories will be available on the Detroit Public TV website.

For more information or to register for the Tools for Hope series, please visit