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April Dodge-Ostendorf

April Dodge-Ostendorf, MSW, is Manager of Family and Community Engagement Outreach at Child Care Aware® of America. She has 15 years of professional experience advancing social service systems for children and families at local, state and national levels. April’s current work includes stakeholder engagement, program implementation and evaluation for initiatives that align with national priorities.

Recent Posts

Promising Practices: Advancing Family Partnerships

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on April 26, 2019

In 2017, Early Learning Indiana (ELI), with the support of the Lilly Endowment, launched the Family Engagement Prize Competition. Recently completing their second year, this statewide prize competition highlights family engagement innovation and excellence in early care and education (ECE) programs. The Prize Competition celebrates the exemplary actions of ECE professionals to empower families’ in their role as their children’s first teachers! Over the past two years programs have been recognized for practices like, offering parenting classes, job placement, housing, and food and fuel assistance, as well as parent-child engagement materials to use at home.

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Promising Practices: Discovering Innovative Ways to Provide Support to ECE Communities

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on March 26, 2019

Child Care Resource Center (CCRC), serves California’s Northern Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. A few years ago, the agency was searching for an innovative way to provide parents, license-exempt providers, and family, friend and neighbor caregivers with early childhood support, information, and resources. CCRC also wanted a program that would strengthen their relationship with the community, while helping caregivers and families connect with each other. The goal was to promote the optimal development of the children within these often underserved caregiver settings.

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Promising Practices: Sharing Brain Development Info with Parents

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on March 8, 2019

Talk, Read, Play (TRP) is a unique education campaign that turns complex information about brain development in young children into a simple message parents can use to prepare their child for success in school and life: talk, read and play with your child every day.

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Promising Practices: Encouraging Early Learning Activities at Home

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on February 22, 2019

 

In February 2017, the Early Learning Coalition of Duval (ELCD) County, Florida joined forces with Jacksonville Journey, a comprehensive community-wide crime prevention initiative. For a decade, Jacksonville Journey has focused on positive youth development, neighborhood safety, truancy, and dropout prevention and intervention. Leaders at ELCD also saw a need within the initiative for early intervention and parent education services, and launched the Family Engagement and Early Literacy Support Program. It strives to help families by fostering strong parent-child relationships and encourage early learning activities in the home.

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Promising Practices: Reaching Underserved Families and Caregivers

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on February 15, 2019

 

Bright by Three is a Colorado-based organization that equips families with tools to promote their child’s healthy development through the most pivotal stages of growth during the earliest years of life. The organization partners with pediatricians, researchers and other child development experts to design program materials in English and Spanish, delivered to families through a visitation program and Bright by Text. Since its launch in 1995, Bright by Three has given early education and support to more than 200,000 families in Colorado. In 2012, the organization decided to look into how they could expand their reach to parents and caregivers not served by the visitation program.

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5 Ways Poverty Impacts Early Brain Development and How You Can Help

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on January 17, 2019

Numerous studies show the foundation for lifelong learning is established during the first five years of brain development. Parents, child care providers and other adults providing care to children are instrumental in encouraging minds to grow healthy and strong. In fact, during these early years, more than one million new neural connections form every second. Thanks to new technology, neuroscientists have even been able to capture images that show how a child’s brain “lights up” during positive interactions with responsive caregivers.

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