Preschool Development Grant

Monadnock United Way’s signature early childhood initiative, Impact Monadnock, was awarded $725,000 in two Preschool Development Grants (PDG) to help improve educational, health, and social-emotional outcomes for children prenatal through age 8 and their families.

The first community grant of $350,000 was awarded in September 2021, naming Impact Monadnock as the lead agency in the newly formed Early Childhood Region 1 (ECR1). ECR1 encompasses the western side of the State, including the Greater Monadnock, Greater Sullivan, and Upper Valley regions. ECR1 membership includes families, early childhood care and education centers, local schools, health and mental health organizations, family resource centers, and other community initiatives serving families. The funding for this one-year community grant is being used to develop a collaborative team of professionals throughout the one hundred mile stretch of ECR1 and to provide families and other caregivers a genuine voice in the success of our region’s children.

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ECR1 Model

Early Childhood Region 1

The State of New Hampshire was awarded a $26.8 million three year Preschool Development Implementation Grant (2020-2022).  The goal is to strengthen the early childhood system to better support young children (prenatal through age 8) and their families.  In order to do this, the state has been divided into 7 regions to enhance connections between early childhood care and education, schools and family supports. The regions will build infrastructure for cross-sector collaboration and alignment to coordinate resources and services.  Monadnock United Way applied for and was awarded the role as backbone agency for Region 1. The newly-formed Early Childhood Region 1 encompasses 61 towns, 25 school districts, 3 existing early childhood coalitions, and 5 Family Resource Centers, and encompasses the Monadnock region, the greater Sullivan County area and the Upper Valley. The Preschool Development Grant is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (Award# 90TP0060-01-00).

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NH Early Childhood Region 1 encompasses 61 towns and 25 school districts with an area approximately 100 miles long along the border of Vermont and over 40 miles wide in parts. Within our region, Claremont and Keene are the locations for most regional services, such as family supports and home visiting, DHHS/DCYF Offices, Developmental Services Area Agencies, etc.). West Central Behavioral Health (Lebanon) and Monadnock Family Services (Keene) are the regional mental health organizations. The Connected Families NH project, with offices in Keene and Claremont, also serves this region.

According to the interactive map’s 2015-2019 data:

  • A high concentration of towns in our region (13 of our 61 towns) are in the medium range (1.1%-3.7%) for children under 6 years old living below the federal poverty line. This appears to be the highest concentration across the state.
  • Seven towns show high rates of child population for children under age 5, and 26 towns were in the medium range.
  • Only 3 of our 61 towns scored in the high range on the Access to Licensed Childcare scale, 11 were in the  moderate range, 44 were in the low range, and 3 towns showed no access at all. This indicates that 77% of our region’s towns have little to no access to licensed child care.
  • Thirteen of our towns indicated 8%-29% of their children under 19 as having no health insurance, twenty-four towns were in the medium range (2.8%-7.9%) for children under 19 with no health insurance.
  • Two of our towns show high populations of immigrants and nine are within the medium range for immigration.

For a list of towns, SAU’s, Family Resource Centers and Early Childhood Coalitions click here 

Impact Monadnock (IM) has been awarded an expansion and implementation grant for the 2020-2021 year.

The funding from this one-year community grant will be used to develop a cross-sector team of professionals and to implement Community Cafes to better support  the needs of children and families in the Monadnock region. This community grant project builds on information gathered from the IM Family Listening Sessions project (2019). 

The cross-sector collaborative team will include professionals from programs and agencies with a relationship to young children and families. The goal of the team is to share resources, develop projects and move IM’s mission forward to benefit the children and families in the Monadnock region.

Cross-Sector Collaborative Team Member Agencies and Programs:

  • SCS Head Start

  • Jonathan Daniels Preschool (SAU 29)

  • Mt. Caesar School (SAU 93)

  • Keene Housing Kids Collaborative

  • Keene Community Kitchen representing The Monadnock Food Pantry Collective

  • Monadnock Region Afterschool Collective

  • The River Center: Family and Community Resource Center representing Monadnock Alliance for Families

  • Monadnock Region Child Advocacy Center

  • Connected Families NH, under the governance of Cheshire County (formally Monadnock Region System of Care)

  • Keene Family YMCA

  • The Winchester Learning Center

  • The Center for Population Health at Cheshire Medical Center

 

A federal Preschool Development Grant of $3.8 million was awarded to the University of New Hampshire in 2019. The focus of this planning grant was to conduct a statewide needs assessment and strategic plan related to early childhood systems, as well as provide funding to regional initiatives supporting families with young children to improve their family engagement practices. The Monadnock Region benefited from a portion of this grant money to increase the region’s capacity to engage families and involve parents as leaders in building effective early childhood programs. Monadnock United Way (MUW) is spearheading this work in the Monadnock Region through the efforts of Impact Monadnock, MUW’s signature early childhood initiative, which aims to prepare children from birth to age five for future academic, career and life success.

One essential component of MUW’s family engagement work included meaningful dialogue in the form of family listening sessions throughout the region with parents and caregivers of young children. The data that was gathered from those sessions has given us insight into their experience with NH's early childhood system and informed planning for improvements that would address identified challenges.

Please click here to view the Executive Summary of those sessions. 

Collaboration through Coaching

As the lead agency for Region 1, Impact Monadnock received funding through the Preschool Development Grant for a regional implementation project. This funding is being used to build Practice-Based Coaching capacity in Region 1, which includes the Monadnock Region, Greater Sullivan County and the Upper Valley. Participating programs from the Monadnock Region include: Rise for Baby and Family, Antioch University, Winchester Learning Center, Monadnock Early Learning Center, Fall Mountain Regional School District and the Child Development Center at Keene State College. Coaches will support the beginning or increase of implementation of promising practices.

Collaboration through Mentoring

NH Early Childhood Region 1 (Greater Monadnock, Greater Sullivan County and the Upper Valley) was awarded funding in December of 2021 to support the Collaboration Through Coaching project.  The project has been successful in elevating professional development within the region through Practice-Based Coaching. It became evident that there could be additional opportunities to share the wealth of knowledge and skills across the region on a more flexible scale.  

The Collaboration Through Mentorship (CTM) initiative aims to support short-term collaborative partnerships between individuals or organizations in various sectors of early childhood across the region. 

  • Potential mentors can offer to share their knowledge and skills by applying to work with others.  
  • Those seeking skill or knowledge development can apply as a mentee in search of a mentor.
  • Individuals or organizations can apply together as matched mentors/mentees.

The NH Early Childhood Region 1 is now accepting applications for Collaboration Through Mentoring, both for mentors and programs/organizations in need of mentoring support. Learn more here: https://buff.ly/3FeAqAt and here: https://buff.ly/3LLK6F0 and apply here: https://buff.ly/3MKp1uO