5 Steps to Five is a parenting program, coaching low-income, underserved 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.
Program Affiliation: Program is a cooperative venture with Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WestCOP), which runs 21 Head Start programs in Westchester and Putnam Counties.
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, WIC offices in Port Chester, and by all participating parents to friends and neighbors. Open Door has just started distributing flyers, as well.
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.
Donations: We are not incorporated; our partnership with WestCOP, with their 501(3)c standing, allows donations to be tax-deductible. Checks must be made out to “WestCOP/5 Steps to Five” and mailed to WestCOP/5 Steps to Five, 2 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY 10523.
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, which was a requirement for partnership with WestCOP. The budget is 100% privately funded. Almost all funds go to program due to very low administrative overhead.
Our Mission is to empower parents of infants and toddlers by coaching them how to prepare their children for success in Kindergarten and their lives beyond.
5 Steps to Five is a parenting program, coaching low-income, underserved 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.
Mary Alice Warner