We envision educational justice where every child has an enriched environment to thrive.
Early Childhood is the most important time in a human’s life. All children deserve an enriched environment to thrive at home and away from home to build strong futures in our community.
As a local non-profit, Giraffe Laugh believes that every child deserves an enriched childhood and access to quality programs that strengthen and empower each family while ensuring school readiness. In Idaho, almost half of all children enter kindergarten unprepared. We can predict, with alarming accuracy, who will drop out of school based on kindergarten readiness. Our work of ensuring school readiness is geared at preparing children for kindergarten and the world beyond.
Steps to ensuring school readiness:
- Giraffe Laugh maintains low ratio’s so that each child is able to bond with their teacher, have their needs met, and develop healthy attachments, especially as infants.
- Giraffe Laugh provides scholarships giving access to any child who is in need of childcare and preschool regardless of their family income.
- Nutrition is a key element to healthy growth and development. Giraffe Laugh serves three healthy meals each day and has food pantries on site at all locations.
- Well educated teachers and a proven curriculum are key to ensuring readiness in preschool-age children. Giraffe Laugh uses the Zoophonics curriculum to build literacy, Second Step curriculum for social and emotional development and Talk About Touching curriculum for personal safety and child abuse prevention.
Parents and guardians are the most important adult in a child’s life and their first teacher. When we enroll a child, we enroll a family. Parenting is not easy and when adults in a family feel connected, supported and have information on their journey, they are empowered and the entire family is strengthened.
Steps to empowering families:
- Giraffe Laugh holds annual parent & teacher conferences in the fall to talk about the development of their child(ren). Even infants are screened for developmental milestones. Conferences are a wonderful way to learn about early childhood development and what is “typical” but also a means to partner with parents in creating goals for each child.
- Giraffe Laugh works with other organizations to provide parenting information and classes through our monthly newsletter but also classes and workshops that are held throughout the year.
- Families are asked to contribute 20 hours of volunteer time each year. When adults in a child’s life are involved in their school they perform better and the family feels more welcome and empowered.
Building strong futures is what happens every day in the work we are fortunate to be a part of. Extra-curricular activities, nutritional support, and access to quality food coupled with our other focus areas result in futures that start strong. When a child starts school ahead, they finish school ahead and are more likely to go on. When a family is supported through difficult times, they are successful and happily functioning in our community.
Steps to building strong futures:
- On-site food pantries at each location are key to a family’s ability to access quality, abundant food sources during business hours. To span the gap and minimize food insecurity, a family is able to obtain protein sources, frozen meats, fresh vegetables, fruits in season, and canned goods.
- Food baskets and holiday help are available to any family that needs it during the stressful holiday season. Volunteers can “adopt a family” and provide a special surprise for children and their family on Christmas morning.
- When a child from a low-income family enters kindergarten they often arrive without the array of experiences as their average income peers. Through a scholarship program designed specifically for extra-curricular activities, all children are able to participate in activities. These activities include field trips to Zoo Boise, the Botanical Gardens, and area attractions. All preschoolers are able to participate in gymnastics, swim lessons, and through a partnership with Ballet Idaho, they learn to dance and are able to attend two ballet performances with their family each year.
We can see the future from here!
Giraffe Laugh, a local nonprofit, provides early childhood education and nurturing to 200 Treasure Valley children daily, by ensuring school readiness, empowering families, and building strong futures.