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Federal grant will help more parents achieve early childhood dev - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Federal grant will help more parents achieve early childhood development

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A 3-year-old boy reads with his mother at Catholic Charities of Pueblo A 3-year-old boy reads with his mother at Catholic Charities of Pueblo
PUEBLO -  A $9.9 million federal grant to the Colorado Department of Human Services will expand programs that promote early childhood literacy and development.

In Pueblo, Catholic Charities facilitate two programs. Parents As Teachers works with children 0-3 years old. Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, or HIPPY, works with children 3-6.

"It really helps increase the child's literacy skills and it helps the parents do activities and set homework standards right inside the home," says Catholic Charities' Director of Programs Ida Rhodes, "so it's a learning environment in the home."

The program gives out free books and activity packets to parents, and home visitors check in regularly. They currently work with 410 Pueblo families. The new grant, which will go into effect in October, will allow them to expand to nearly 600 families.

Nicole Pacheco says her 4-year-old son is demonstrating skills far more advanced than his peers in his preschool classroom. "We do science activities that are age-appropriate for him," she says. "The stories went along with the books, so we would elaborate on that. I would even go on Pinterest to get the snacks that went with the books, so we had a lot of fun with it."

Organizers hope future expansions will create an environment for all children in Pueblo to learn how to read before they enter the classroom. Rhodes says, "Being able to get that many more families ready for school will hopefully impact high school graduation rates at some time."

"There's a lot of kids in this community," adds Pacheco. "The program is just touching a part of them, so I think the fact that the program is expanding is going to do really good."

The programs have space available now, however. If you would like to participate or sign your child up for either program, click here for more information. You can also call (719) 586-8620 for Parents As Teachers, and (719) 586-8605 for HIPPY. 

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