5 Steps to Five is a parenting program coaching parents and their infants in groups with trained facilitators, who model ways of interacting with the babies to build cognitive, verbal, emotional and social skills. The goal: prepare these children for school, using the five steps – Nurture, Talk, Play, Read, Explore. Parents learn the importance of being the child’s first and most important teachers – beginning at birth.
When: Every Saturday morning, 9:30- 11:00 am, except holidays.
Where: Port Chester Head Start classrooms, 17 Spring Street, Port Chester
Staff: Teachers and family workers from Monday-Friday Head Start program; minimum of two staff per room with parents and infants together. Program Manager, also from Head Start during the week, supervises the activities and payroll. Founders and new Director oversee total program.
Participants: Port Chester residents who qualify for Head Start from before birth to infants between 0 and 36 months.
Sections: pre-birth and 0 to 12 months – “Foundation”; 13-36 months – “Exploration”
Curriculum: 90-minute sessions including discussion of baby’s brain and the five steps, parents’ role in development, review of previous week at home, reading, singing, dancing, special creative projects that parents can replicate at home, snacks and cleanup.
Books: New, age-appropriate books (mostly bilingual) are bought by the program for free distribution to participating families once a month. The average cost is less than 50% of retail.
Outreach: Flyers are distributed at Carver Center, Open Door, WIC offices in Port Chester, and by all participating parents to friends and neighbors.
Analysis: Over time, the program has developed questionnaires for use with parents after they have completed 10 or more sessions. Both quantitative and open-ended qualitative responses are collected. Recently, we also started asking parents to tell us how frequently they now read with their infants compared to before the program. Finally, we will have access to the very detailed student analyses Head Start does regularly to see how “graduates” of 5 Steps to Five are doing relative to the norms.
Budget: Through the generous support of many family foundations, individuals and local churches, we were able to raise funding in advance to cover the first three years. The budget is 100% privately funded. Almost all funds go to program due to very low administrative overhead.
A parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. Our mission is to be a trusted resource for parents seeking to give their child the best possible start to school and to life.
5 Steps to Five is a parenting program, coaching parents and their infants in groups with trained facilitators, who model ways of interacting with the babies to build cognitive, verbal, emotional and social skills.
To prepare these children for school, using the five steps– Nurture, Talk, Play, Read, Explore. Parents learn the importance of being the child’s first and most important teachers – beginning at birth.
Kent Warner returned to Rye from New Hampshire in 2013. Feeling the need to give back to the under-served community in next-door Port Chester, he and his wife Mary Alice started 5 Steps to Five, which he says has been one of the most rewarding involvements in his life. He received a BSME from Princeton Engineering School before starting an engineering/consulting/construction company. Kent has long been involved with nonprofit organizations, including being board chair of Westchester Planned Parenthood and Board of Spaulding Youth Center for autistic children. He was president of the nonprofit company that built the 99-unit Ferris Avenue affordable housing building in White Plains.
Mary Alice Warner
Allen Clark joined Kent and Mary Alice Warner as Cofounder in late 2013 to start 5 Steps to Five. A 78-year resident of Westchester County, he has lived in Rye since 1984. A graduate of Amherst College, he worked in advertising for 40 years, including being Partner of Della Femina & Partners for 16 years. He is Publisher Emeritus of The Rye Record newspaper. In the mid-1960s he helped start the Mamaroneck Community Action Program and served on the Mamaroneck Village Human Rights Commission. Allen and his wife Whitney live near their daughter, Margot Clark-Junkins and her family.
Mary Alice Warner, while mothering four teens, took Parent Effectiveness Training, beginning her special interest in parenting. She then worked at the White Plains Youth Bureau with parents who were struggling with raising their children. A graduate of Smith College, she later obtained a degree in marriage and family counseling. Moving to New Hampshire, she volunteered for 16 years in the state prison, leading parent support groups and coaching inmates in parenting their children. She also co-led Parent Journey groups in the local Family Resource Center working
with at risk parents to build self-esteem, confidence and enjoyment as parents. She is happy to have been involved in the planning and setting up of 5 STEPS TO FIVE!