Visions for Children Preschool Network for African American Children

Help for African American Children is Coming!

Purpose:

Early childhood education professionals who serve African American children have echoed the concern of Carter G. Woodson that “The education of any people should begin with the people themselves.” In 1933, Dr. Woodson stated that “the chief difficulty with the education of the Negro is that it has been largely imitation resulting in the enslavement of his mind.”

Recently, Hakim M. Rashid has raised the question of whether definitions of appropriate curricula, high quality teaching, effective parent involvement, and community engagement should be driven from within communities or from outside interests.

The Answer:

Visions for Children is a preschool program (written by Janice E. Hale, Ph.D.) which emphasizes the special characteristics of African American children, offering a teaching method and curriculum which encourages children to learn the information and skills necessary for upward mobility, career achievement, and financial independence in the American mainstream. At the same time, they feel pride in their own ethnic culture and are able to identify with and contribute to the development of their people.

This program is based on the model described in Black Children: Their Roots, Culture and Learning Styles (Hale 1986) and was piloted for seven years in Cleveland, Ohio. A distinctive feature is the emphasis on teaching young children cognitive skills while strengthening their self-esteem and identity as African Americans.

The teaching method emphasizes the culture of the African Diaspora and integrates it in all of its diversity throughout the curriculum. The children learn about Africa and their rich cultural heritage; they learn about Afrocentric arts and crafts; they listen to folktales and stories written by African American writers; they listen to music and learn about musicians and music that has emerged from Black culture; they learn about heroes and sheroes in Black history such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In sum, the children in this program are surrounded by messages that get them started on the right track in realizing that there is pride in being beautiful Black children who can hold their own in a competitive society.

Features of the Visions For Children Curriculum

The Visions for Children Preschool Curriculum offers a solution to a central problem in curriculum organization in early children education by managing the diversity of information and skills we desire to impart to young children. It takes a great deal of teacher training for one teacher to develop lessons that give balanced and integrated attention to all aspects of the curriculum. In VFC, each teacher specializes in a curriculum area which enables them to prepare detailed lesson plans.

VFC has five organizing components that encompass a quality early childhood education curriculum: (a) physical, (b) communication, (c) creative, (d) inquiry, and (c) cultural.

View sample pages of the curriculum by clicking on the logos above.

Over 120 concepts distributed over 32 curricular areas have been delineated. Every concept has been broken down into an instructional objective. In the curriculum guide, exemplary activities are given for each objective so that it is clear to the teacher what the concept is and how it is to be taught.

Specific objectives are provided for every area of the curriculum and activities are provided that the teacher can select for their lesson plans. The teachers do not have to supply the content of their lesson plans, as in other programs. They follow the curriculum guide and use the objectives and activities provided therein for their lessons.

Other preschool curriculum programs provide conceptual books that provide the content of each area of the curriculum. It is the task of the teacher to absorb the content and create lesson plans. Conceptual information objectives and activities are provided for the teachers in this curriculum.

Likewise, other programs train their teachers in conflict resolution. With the VFC curriculum, social skills, non-violent conflict resolution, manners and all of the topics in that stream are incorporated into the curriculum rather than functioning as “an add-on”.

Parent Curriculum File Box of Activities

There is an accompanying parent curriculum with activities for the parents to use at home with their children. Each parent is provided with a file box of activities in language arts, mathematics and African American culture. The file box also comes with an activity packet with supportive teaching materials for use by the parents. The parent activities are correlated with the center curriculum. So the parents can reinforce at home what is being taught in the preschool.

Sample Activities

Index Card for Math
Index Card for Language Arts
Index Card for African American Studies
Index Card for African American Studies card2

Longitudinal Study of Child Outcomes

A longitudinal study was conducted comparing the outcomes for children who were taught by the VFC curriculum, comparing them to a control group of children. The VFC children were studied through the 3rd grade. The findings of the first 2 year evaluation are published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly 5, 199-213 (1990).

Read the entire article

The Design of the Network

The VFC Preschool Network offers programs that serve children from 2-4 years old the opportunity to affiliate at several different levels.

Statuses of Affiliation

  1. Member. No fee. These programs would be registered on the VFC Member Listserv. They would be able to communicate with each other in sharing information to enrich their practice.
  2. Network Affiliate. These affiliates would be those who are using our curriculum in their programs. There would be 3 tiers of participation. There would be a VFC Network Affiliate Listserv for this category.

Bronze

Purchase curriculum at regular price
Purchase of parent curriculum on demand
Training and support for implementation on demand
Pay as you go for curriculum upgrades
Subscribe to newsletter for a small fee

Gold

Purchase curriculum at regular price
Purchase of parent curriculum at regular price
Purchase of starter kit and basic documents needed to implement the program at regular price
Purchase of basic training package needed to implement the program at regular price
Agree to participate in evaluation of program uptake
Agree to participate in evaluation of child outcomes
In essence, they will become a part of the data base on the model outcomes
10% discount on training, online courses, newsletter and curriculum upgrades

Platinum

Purchase curriculum at regular price
Purchase of parent curriculum at regular price
Purchase of starter kit and basic documents needed to implement the program at regular price
Purchase of basic training package needed to implement the program at regular price
Agree to participate in evaluation of program uptake
Agree to participate in evaluation of child outcomes
Agree to seek program accreditation (VFC accreditation which would be aligned with other
    types of accreditation such as NAEYC for VFC value added)
Agree to seek teacher certification (VFC certification which would be aligned with other types of
    teacher certification)
Option to seek trainer certification (VFC trainer certification which would be aligned with other
    Types of trainer certification)
Programs in this category would be candidates for demonstration sites.
20% discount on training, online courses, newsletter and curriculum upgrades

Demonstration Program in Michigan or Near WSU

Programs would be invited to apply to be a certified demonstration program in Michigan in close proximity to Wayne State University. We need to have a site where the program is implemented on an optimal level that can be visited as an example of optimal practice.

Training Documents

Our Affiliates would purchase everything they need to implement the model from our online store. Following is a listing of documents that will be offered and tentative pricing:

VFC Curriculum Guide

The program will be able to download the curriculum and print out all of the copies they want for their program. We will provide a link to Staples where the programs can purchase the recommended binders. They can download the logo cover that goes in the binders from our web site.

Parent Curriculum File Boxes -- Price to be determined by cost

The parent curriculum is printed on 5 x 8 index cards that are color coded by curriculum area: peach, yellow and green. There is a logo panel on the lid. The curriculum is divided into 2 boxes that each contains six months of the curriculum. In this way, if a family departs the program within a six month period, they would only have one rather than both boxes. They would be required to turn the 1st box in to receive the second one. These curriculum boxes will be purchased and shipped to programs.

Getting Started Forms

Administrator Planning Forms
Sample Daily Schedule (Academic Year)
Sample Daily Schedule (Summer)
Child Outcome Report to Parents
Overview of Longitudinal Evaluation Instruments
Logo Cover for binders
  
Teacher Planning Forms
Daily Lessons
Weekly Lessons
Monthly Lessons
Daily Doing Forms
  
Bulletin Board Design Template
Visions for Parents
Heros & Sheros weekly listing
Monthly Themes
5 Curricular Areas Bulletin Boards
  
Getting Started with VFC Document
Document with introductory material
Provides sample daily, weekly, monthly lesson plans and daily doings
Monthly Themes
5 Curricular Areas Bulletin Boards
  
Getting Started with VFC Video
Janice Hale video that explains how to implement VFC as a companion to the written document. This video can be provided for the fee The program can purchase a video conferencing to accompany it. In this way, the program can view the video and then 365 live meeting to engage in Q & A with me – for a fee.

Basic Training Video

Start-up video with Dr. Janice Hale
Microsoft 365 Live Q & A
Skype Q & A (another option)
Email Q & A

For live video conferencing and email Q & A, the programs would pay for subscriptions through the web site at a rate of $100 an hour.

In-Person On Site Training

On Site Training will be available at a program site upon request.

Future Plans

  1. Online courses will be provided that offer training in specific curriculum areas, taught by early childhood scholars. Some would be taught for SEUs and others would be designed so that university degree credit can be given.
  2. Materials will be created for use in programs
  3. Online courses specific to pedagogy for African American children will be offered.
  4. Online courses specific to the pedagogy of African American children in specific curriculum areas will be offered.
  5. National and international conference for affiliates will be offered in person and online.

Future Additions to the Curriculum as called for

  1. Children with Special Needs. Creation of a statement on accommodating African American children with special needs. The categories will be addressed that are typically presented by African American children.
  2.  
  3. Alignment of VFC program with standards. The curriculum will endeavor to align with local, state and national standards for which programs are held accountable.
  4.