2020 Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: Long Beach Day Nursery
Address: 1548 Chestnut Ave.
City: Long Beach
Officer-title: Executive Director
Mission: The mission of Long Beach Day Nursery is to provide high quality early care and education for young children of working parents.
ContactTitle: Associate Executive Director
Grant-purpose: Provide high quality early care and education for young children lessening the impact and high-risk factors of homelessness.
What-is-project: The Long Beach Day Nursery Early Childhood Education program provides children of low-income working families with high quality early care and education thus lessening the impact and high-risk factors of homelessness.
Children receive a healthy, safe, emotionally secure environment with the right balance of developmental and intellectual stimulation and daily interactions with caregivers. Homelessness has a devastating impact on homeless children and youth’s educational opportunities. The Long Beach Day Nursery Early Intervention Program is of particular importance as it recognizes potential developmental challenges early in a child’s life. A high percentage of our children are exposed to the risk factors contributing to development delays and socioemotional challenges which are an experience of homelessness, living in low-income households, having parents with a mental health condition and prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs. The LBDN EIP program provides: observations, assessments and intervention strategies for children with identified special needs, social/emotional challenges, developmental delays, and/or behavior concerns. This is a comprehensive program that takes a whole child approach to identify and address early concerns. EIP incorporates interns (Masters/Doctoral students), teaching staff, professional development and visits with a consulting psychologist. The program provides supports to parents through counseling, case management, parent child play therapy and referrals to additional support. In many cases, the care LBDN provides is the only place where trained adults are focused on helping homeless students meet their basic needs, and access the education and early care that is their best path to a better life.
This project is a particularly good fit for the Long Beach Community Foundation as our West Branch is located in the Washington neighborhood, zip code 90813, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the city. 56% of young children in the area are not enrolled in school and are exposed to very difficult circumstances on a daily basis.
90% of a child’s brain growth occurs between birth and the age of three. Children in poverty, however, frequently do not have access to the same educational and developmental resources as their counterparts during this vital time. We believe families shouldn’t have to choose between paying rent and paying for high quality care, which is why more than 60% of our childcare slots are at low or no cost.
High-quality preschool programs are proven to raise academic performance and give children the skills and tools to be successful and contribute to society. Building up early childhood education programs is also one of the smartest investments we can make. Various studies determine that on average, society sees a return of $7 for every $1 invested in early childhood education programs.
How-will-you-succeed: Children’s growth and development will be tracked as each child is given opportunities to reach their full potential and are prepared for entry into kindergarten.
• Every child has a Desired Results Developmental Profile with observations, art samples, writing samples, dictations and photographs. This is completed at the appropriate increments for their age group; this includes developmental milestones and tracks children on the continuum of learning and physical development.
• A consulting licensed psychologist, with a specialty in children 0-5, will observe children monthly. As appropriate, referrals will be made to our in-house Early Intervention Program and/or to outside agencies. Teachers, administrators and parents will be involved in this process.
Additionally, we will continue to ensure that our programming is of the utmost quality. We do this through numerous annual assessments which include: a self-evaluation with direction from the California Department of Education (CDE) followed every 3-5 years with an onsite review, classroom environmental assessments, parent and staff surveys. In addition to the above, the greatest evaluation of our overall high-quality programing is the continuation of our accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Both our West and East Branches have been continuously accredited since 1989 and 1991 respectively, and were re-accredited in 2014 and 2018. Accreditation requires intense ongoing self-evaluation, meeting standards far above those of typical child care regulation, and an on-site evaluation and observation from a trained NAEYC program assessor.
LBDN has a well-rounded approach to sustainability. LBDN has a Strategic Plan to support our work and it continues to guide our work even with changing regulations and spatial restrictions from COVID-19. We have solid relationships with individual supporters, foundations, and within our ongoing government contracts. We have endowments that support both programs and core operating funds. Over the past two years LBDN more than tripled the number of on-site support hours of our groundbreaking Early Intervention Program, which provides a full slate of supports to children with identified special needs, social/emotional challenges, and/or behavior concerns and their families and teachers. We will continue to seek additional funding through our partners in order to sustain this important work as we face unprecedented budget shortfalls with Covid-19 challenges. This year the majority of our funds are going towards sustaining our education programs with the enhanced covid-19 regulations and reduced capacity for social distancing. We appreciate the opportunity to apply here for support for our programs which are so critical to at-risk youth.
Who-are-you: Founded in 1912, Long Beach Day Nursery (LBDN) was one of the first licensed child care programs in California. LBDN is much more than just a child care center, but rather an iconic Long Beach institution that continuously pushes the envelope of what it means to be a high-quality early childhood education program.
LBDN currently serves nearly 300 children annually ages 6 weeks to 6 years old at two physical sites and, since COVID-19, via Distance Learning, in Long Beach. Our West Branch is located in the Washington neighborhood, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the city, plagued with high poverty, crime, violence/gang activity; and, while our East Branch is located in a middle-class neighborhood, many of the children that attend that site are also from low income families. Both sites remain true to our mission and serve children of working parents while providing access to high quality learning opportunities. Our programs are research based, developmentally appropriate, and have, since the 1990’s, continuously received the highest accolades of accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Our programming includes: NAEYC accredited centers, on-site early intervention program, a focus on social emotional development, early literacy, science, and math curriculum, low teacher child ratios, continuity of care practices, healthy connections and nutrition program, Stepping Stones Scholarships, parent engagement, and a formal professional development program for our staff. When children graduate LBDN we are confident the high-quality early education received within our program has prepared them for success in kindergarten and beyond.
LBDN leadership and staffing is strong and includes experts in all aspects of early childhood education as well as nonprofit practices, staff development and finance. We have low turnover throughout our organization and this continuity is invaluable as we work towards our goals and continuous improvement. We are also proud to have a strong set of Honorary Board members who termed out of board service after 9 years of service. These members, many of whom served on the Strategic Planning Task Force, include some of the communities’ most prominent and generous philanthropists whom still work to strengthen LBDN thru continued participation and support.
LBDN operates as part of a larger ecosystem and implement braided funding to meet community needs and leverage resources. Collaborations, networks and coalitions include:
• Long Beach Early Childhood Education Committee, a partnership with 30+ organizations working towards ensuring children in Long Beach are healthy, safe, and educated
• Child360; Early Head Start Partnership providing additional support and resources for children living in extreme poverty, such as: a nutritionist, family advocates, parent trainings, additional mental health support, home visiting, and teacher coaching.