Posts Tagged ‘Baby College’
Geoffrey Canada has been on the road more than usual this month, giving public talks to a variety of school and community groups. He spoke at the University of Dayton in Ohio where, according to a recent article in the Dayton Daily News, a local initiative called Taking Off to Success is modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Baby College. He also spoke at a Martin Luther King Day celebration at Wesleyan University and to a group in Columbia, South Carolina, that is trying to establish what they’re calling a Promise Zone, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, in the city’s Eau Claire neighborhood. (According to an article in the State, Geoffrey Canada’s older brother, Dan, a Columbia resident, is on the board of the Eau Claire zone.)
From this morning’s Times-Union, a story about the first graduating class of the Baby Institute, a new program run by the Albany Family Education Alliance and modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Baby College:
The mothers and fathers who received their diplomas at Giffen Elementary School in the city’s South End ran the gamut of race, age and education. They were all recruited from agencies that serve the poorest neighborhoods of the city. Some mothers have one or two children, others recently gave birth, and others are pregnant with their first child.
The idea is to provide parents “with the tools and techniques to become the first teachers of their children,” said Common Council member Barbara Smith, an alliance member who helped spearhead the baby program. She attended every session at the school, which ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The participants had to have children no older than 3.
In the Albany Times-Union, a report on the project there to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone:
A year ago, Common Councilwoman Barbara Smith was daydreaming about a whole community working to give some of its poorest children a chance at college and a better life. She was reading about the Harlem Children’s Zone, the nationally celebrated initiative to reach every child in a 97-block section of New York City and provide them and their families with social, health and educational services from the early years all the way through college.
Now, Smith and a group of parents, educators and concerned citizens, are quickly moving forward with a similar vision for students in the city of Albany. The Children’s Zone has come to Albany at lightning speed, moving from a concept to classroom-level implementation in less than a year.
Last week, the Australian public-radio network, ABC Radio National, broadcast the radio documentary I did for This American Life about Baby College, the Harlem Children’s Zone’s parenting program. It ran on the network’s morning show, “Life Matters,” and was bookended by a conversation between me and the show’s host, Richard Aedy. There’s a description of the episode here, and audio here.
The Harlem Children’s Zone is the brain-baby of Geoffrey Canada, and the subject of journalist Paul Tough’s in-depth reportage in a recent book, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. The basic idea behind Canada’s program is to combat urban poverty through intensive work with children, particularly during early childhood. …
Last week, This American Life re-aired a piece on HCZ, produced by Tough before the release of his book. If you’re looking to get inspired by Canada and his vision, the radio piece is a great introduction to the theory behind the Zone. Tough hones in on the phase of HCZ’s program called Baby College, where new and expecting parents are trained to think differently about child-rearing.
The half-hour-long report that I did on This American Life about Baby College and the Harlem Children’s Zone is airing again this weekend.
The report was recently named a runner-up for the 2009 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism in the radio category. According to the citation,
Entrenched poverty is a complicated, nuanced issue, and some reporting on it tends to be one-dimensional. Not this story. This is an excellent report of one man’s impact on the children involved with the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York. The reporter expertly mixes science and storytelling without avoiding thorny issues. It’s no wonder that many who heard or learned of the report wanted to know how they might replicate the program.