Early Learner Rapid City Overview:
A community’s understanding of and commitment to positive early learning environments is vital to its economic development and stability. Rapid City understands that it is in the community’s best interest to support all facets of early learning. The traditional preschool classroom model is not always the environment that parents or guardians choose to provide education to their child and, in fact, is becoming less so in recent years. Additionally, it is necessary for infants and children to have physical, social, and emotional development in addition to intellectual development. This includes families that choose home-schooling, grandparents, foster children, traditional preschool centers and the safe physical environment available for play and socialization in every community within Rapid City.
In Rapid City, we have chosen to follow the National League of Cities Early Learning Community Action Guide for our early learning work. This guide provides researched guidance on how to build a community that supports early learning in all facets of the community.
The convening, collaboration and facilitation of this community driven work is going to be the catalyst for the progress that this community makes regarding early learning. This is a systems change, grass-roots approach, which takes many years to accomplish.
The Leadership Team:
In order to help streamline our efforts in Rapid City, a leadership team was created. The leadership team looks not to prescribe goals and objectives but to allow those to grow organically from the subcommittee and statewide committee meetings. Collaboration and input from the constituents of early learning will reflect what the community wants, needs and feels is vital and will be the success of this project.
The Leadership team consists of the Rapid City Mayor’s office, John T. Vucurevich Foundation, SDAEYC, and Black Hills Reads/United Way of the Black Hills
The Advisors (consisting of representatives from the Mayor’s office, the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, SDAEYC, and United Way of the Black Hills) facilitates, organizes, and provides additional resources to the larger stakeholder group and subcommittees.
The Leadership group consists of the Advisors and the Chairs from each of the ELRC subcommittees.
The stakeholder group meets on a quarterly basis to receive updates on progress from subcommittees the leadership team, and the advisors.
The subcommittees are made up of stakeholders and interested community partners/individuals. They meet regularly between the quarterly meetings as determined by the subcommittee groups.
SDAEYC has a focus very similar to the work of Rapid City but with a statewide focus. Since these efforts are occurring simultaneously, The Early Learner Rapid City group will actively work with SDAEYC to maintain the fluidity of the project and maintain consistent messaging to include branding and marketing.