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CDCs Celebrate the Special Role Fathers Play in Their Children’s Early Education

CDC Fathers Day_Jose and son Lucas
CDC Fathers Day_father and son
CDC Fathers Day_Greg and son Jacob

In an effort to get fathers more involved in their children’s early education and development, associates at ESSC’s Child Development Centers (CDCs) have created several opportunities for dads to take part in daily classroom activities and encourage them to play an active role in their child’s care giving and education.

“We have regular events where we put a call out to all dads – ‘Come and read to your children during Dr. Seuss week,’ or we’ll have a special breakfast for the dads,” said Manuel Gomez, CDC Site Director for Upland. “We also get fathers involved in our policy council, which is a group of parents that provides shared governance of our Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and we used to have workshops for dads about why it’s important for them to get involved.”

Manuel explained how CDC associates go out of their way to emphasize to fathers that they are the other half of a very important equation. “Traditionally women have been the lead in children’s education, especially in early childhood education,” Gomez explained. “In our field specifically, men were not encouraged or identified as equal partners in education.”

Manuel said he is happy to see those attitudes changing little by little. He explained there are many positive outcomes from getting fathers more involved in the classroom, including boosts in behavior and relationship modeling from both parents, which benefits the entire family.

Joshua Olds, who is the father of a four-year-old girl who attends Upland’s Head Start Home Base Program, says it’s incredibly satisfying to play an active role in his daughter’s classroom and care giving.

“I’ve been going to the [CDC] socialization events and the field trips,” Josh said. “I’ll be in the classroom while the teacher, Miss Rose [Acosta], is there, and I work with my daughter throughout the week. Miss Rose will let us know what she needs to work on, and then we’ll work on it together. Miss Rose always encourages socialization and makes sure we’re all invited.”

“It’s great because I get to see my daughter develop, learn stuff, and see how excited she is for the different experiences,” Joshua said. “Getting to watch her write her name for the first time was terrific – when they’re that little every day is different and it’s the simple little things that are cool.”

Joshua also added how valuable it is for children to see both their parents play an active role in their daily lives. “It’s so important for kids to get the feeling of seeing both parents there – not just mom and not just dad,” he said.

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