Supporting Community Education
For those working to support learning through parenting programs, literacy, ESL or early child development, attention to the elements of community building can serve to highlight opportunities to capitalize on all available assets and maximize opportunities for learners to develop long-term capacity. Working with a community development lens offers a framework and strategies to build a strong and supportive learning environment.
- Community conversations (What do we care deeply about?)
- Asset Mapping (Individual and school community strengths)
- Action Planning (Linking and Mobilizing assets)
- Evaluating Efforts (What’s working and why?)
- Community Economic Development (What is the impact of community education on the local economy?
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Attention to community processes not only helps learners highlight assets, but helps to identify and weave connections and highlight possible avenues for action. Café offers support for community education initiatives in this work, as illustrated through our engagement in these key areas of focus:
- Early Childhood Development. More than 1/3 of Alberta’s children are not developing appropriately. Cafe is excited to be part of Calgary’s First 2000 Days Early Childhood Development Network, is a collective response of community, organizations and professionals coming together to help ensure children will be supported to reach their optimal development. With the support of our network partners, Cafe has developed the Parent Cafe Early Years conversations, a resource for bringing parents and caregivers together in conversation around healthy development.
- Parent Capacity. Parents are our first and most important teachers. Building capacity to support learning at home and within the school community is key focus for Cafe. Cafe has developed Parent Cafe, an easy-to follow resource designed to guide parent leaders and educators in hosting community conversations to build awareness and capacity for this important factor known to impact learning outcomes.
- Literacy and learning. As an example of collaborative learning, Cafe has worked in partnership with Calgary Reads to develop the ‘Building a Reading Community: An Asset and Action Approach’ a roadmap for organizing an extended school community around literacy. Each school is unique in its combined assets, student and family population and school-wide focus. Cafe offers our Parent Cafe: Supporting Literacy resource along with other community-building strategies to help a school community maximize all available assets in the extended school community and to spark action in support of reading.