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First4ME

First4ME is a two-generation, community-based approach to improving access to quality early care and education. First4ME Portland aims to improve participating children’s social, emotional, educational, and health outcomes by working with key community partners – in Portland and statewide – to intentionally support child care providers and Portland Public Schools.

First4ME Portland supports a cohort of early childhood education programs with an individualized slate of opportunities, financial resources and services designed to meet their needs and the needs of children and families within their program.

Depending on program need and family eligibility these resources include:

  • Family support coaches for families of eligible children to support screening, referral and services for developmental concerns, and to help identify family goals and receive support to achieve them 
  • Weekly enrollment stipends per “eligible” child
  • Monthly program participation stipend 
  • Teaching Strategies Gold: an evidence based, authentic, ongoing observational system for assessing children from birth through kindergarten
  • Creative Curriculum: a whole-child, comprehensive curriculum that emphasizes rich, engaging, play-based learning experiences; hands-on investigation of interesting materials; nurturing environments; and warm, welcoming, responsive relationships between teachers and children and their families
  • CLASS assessments: an assessment system that provides teachers the research-proven skills and strategies they need to improve interactions. Over 200 research studies prove children in classrooms with higher CLASS scores demonstrate better social-emotional, cognitive and academic outcomes
  • Access to ancillary funds to support staff development, quality maintenance, program accreditation and improvement efforts
  • A licensed mental health clinician dedicated to First4ME Portland to support children, families and providers in navigating challenging circumstances 
  • Peer-to-peer support and coaching  for educators and program directors facilitated by First4ME Portland staff to support program quality improvement 
  • Access to processes and supports to aid families in transitioning to children to public school (either PreK or K) and in connecting families to other service providers
  • Participation in the development and implementation of a Shared Services model (e.g. shared professional development, substitute pool, health insurance, administrative support, etc.)
  • A regularly convened early childhood stakeholder group that includes representation from a diverse group of individuals and programs, to include parents, health and behavioral health care providers, early intervention service providers, cultural organizations, public school liaisons, as well as several other types of social service providers 
  • Facilitating new partnerships between Portland Public schools and licensed child care programs