The first years of a child’s life are critical to positive development and provide the foundation for success in school and life. To foster this development all children need a safe, nurturing environment paired with enriching experiences in their home, childcare and community. Because we believe the family’s most basic role is to provide for their children’s health, safety, security, and emotional well-being, McKenna supports a spectrum of services tiered to become gradually more intensive and focused as family risk factors increase. Increasing access points ensures services are offered when most critical, resulting in adults who are more competent in their roles as nurturers, teachers, and advocates during early childhood. Children who enter school with early precursor skills, aided by exposure to enriching preschool environments, are more likely than their peers to experience later academic success. We believe children thrive when families thrive.
Economic instability can inhibit upward mobility or planned decisions due to the need to balance work and family responsibilities. The emblematic “American Dream” of social and economic mobility requires repeated upward movements in education, income, or occupational status.
- Parents obtain family supporting jobs
- Decreased dependence on public assistance
- Increased educational achievement
- Lower household debt
- Increased savings and credit scores
- Decreased cycles of crisis
- Improved mental health
- Achievement of developmental milestones
- Social, behavioral, emotional and physical readiness to thrive in formal schooling
- Increased access to high quality childcare
- Robust social support networks
- Increased participation in enrichment and learning opportunities
PAT – Parents As Teachers
For over 15 years, McKenna operated a successful Parents as Teachers (PAT) program that targets high-risk families with children aged three and younger. The PAT program has served over 1,500 families during that time; providing targeted, valuable knowledge and insight to local families with local issues.
PAT helps good people become great parents. The program matches local families with a trained home visitor to offer support, guidance and referrals. Our program has been tested & proven to help families prepare young children for success in school and beyond by providing support, information on development, and parenting tips to ensure each child is healthy, safe, and ready to learn.
McKenna understands the high positive correlation between Early Childhood Development programs (ECD) and improved social outcomes. Families and children who have access to quality, enriching experiences in safe and nurturing environments experience fewer interactions with the social welfare system, mental health services and juveniles justice. Stated simply, dollars invested in healthy families are dollars saved in remedial services down the road. Combined together, the McKenna Children’s Museum and Family Support efforts offers a powerful and unique blend of evidence-based intervention, education and entertainment to inspire and support families from all walks of life.