Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Awards $181,381 Grant to YMCA of Greater Kansas City

YMCA of Greater Kansas City was recently awarded a $181,381 grant from the Kauffman Foundation Quality Enhancement Grant to increase the capacity for curriculum enhancement and institutionalize a coaching culture at the Thomas Roque Early Head Start Center.

This project will expand the Y’s capacity to provide Early Head Start teachers with training on key areas of early childhood education, curriculum and fidelity of the curriculum. An early childhood consultant will help the Y’s Early Head start program implement a coaching model that will further equip staff to retain and use their knowledge in the classroom to provide quality instruction with children within a larger support system, also increasing staff satisfaction and retention.

When Early Head Start classroom teachers and assistant teachers are new to the classroom, or if they are the midst of gaining their child development associate (CDA) credential concurrent with teaching, functional knowledge and confidence for implementing curriculum to fidelity is sometimes limited. The Y’s Head Start program began implementing a coaching model at our Head Start sites last year. Data shows that when teachers feel equipped for their job and that they have a support system, they feel more satisfied and valued.

High quality teachers help foster child engagement.  Children learn at a deeper level when they are engaged in exploring topics and ideas of particular interest to them.  The teachers in each classroom work together to meet the children’s need for child-initiated activities through consistent project work which allows the teachers to follow the lead of the children and engage in learning activities with them. Teachers lead project activities that help children develop the skills they need to investigate and complete their projects depending upon the topic and the depth of understanding the children are seeking.

We believe that this approach will improve curriculum fidelity, offer teachers additional tools and supports to successfully implement curriculum in the classroom, and foster a coaching culture of ongoing support in Early Head Start.

Founded in 1860 as the seventh Y in North America, the YMCA of Greater Kansas City has over 158 years of experience in meeting the holistic needs of residents of all ages.  Since its inception, the Y has been more than simply a place to exercise. The Y empowers people of all ages to live healthier lives throughout their entire lifespan and does so in an environment that fosters social support. The Y is committed to making membership and all programs and services accessible to low-income individuals through financial assistance policies. The Y’s mission: Founded on Christian principles, [The Y] is a charitable organization with an inclusive environment committed to enriching the quality of family, spiritual, social, mental, and physical well-being. The Y serves 406 youth from Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties at the Thomas Roque Early Head Start Center (ages 0-3), and four Head Start centers (ages 3-5).