A New Way to Welcome Families to School

Children’s Friend is thrilled to welcome our 1000+ new and returning students and their families to the 2019-2020 school year.  Every year, 3-5-year-olds from across Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls enter the classroom ready to play, grow, and develop in a supportive learning environment.  But at Children’s Friend, it’s not just about what happens in the classroom – we are here to support and advocate alongside families and communities to close the Opportunity Gap that children from lower-income families often face.  The Opportunity Gap affects development and academics but has nothing to do with how smart kids are or how much their families care – and bringing children to preschool every day is one way to close the Gap. That’s why this year we decided to get a jump start on welcoming families to preschool through a series of kickoff celebrations.

Through our brand-new kickoffs, we invite all new families to their particular site on a special day in which they meet their whole team: the Child Development Supervisor (kind of like a principal); their Family Advocate, who will support the family to meet their goals and overcome obstacles throughout the year; the nurse, who can assist in any health needs; the nutritionist, who makes sure kids eat healthy at school and at home; a member of the Support team, who looks out for the mental health of every child; representatives from the Family Engagement team; and a whole slew of community resources.  Each member of this big team spends time introducing herself to families, obtaining any final enrollment information and screenings, and learning how she can best support each particular child.  This ensures that on the first day of school, we already know families and can focus all our energy on closing the Opportunity Gap.

Through these kickoffs, our message to families is: “You have a whole team here to support you – and together, we can close the Opportunity Gap and help your child be successful in school and throughout life.”


Art courtesy of Southern Oregon Head Start.


Shelby Mack
Manager of Strategy