For most children, going to preschool is a normal part of introducing them to the world outside their family unit. It helps them develop interactions, socialization skills and a balance between work and play they will carry into their grade school years. But for homeless families, access to preschool programs is difficult and most homeless children do not have the opportunity to attend, leaving them at a disadvantage among their peers when they finally enter school.
IHS is proud to be partnering with Parents and Children Together (PACT) on Mikiala: Preschool in the Park, which seeks to engage children ages 0-5 and their parents in skill-building activities to support growth and development. Three times a week, PACT and IHS gather with families under a big tent in Aala Park or at IHS Family Service Center to offer a program of activities that help children build healthy relationships and self-esteem to counter lack of self-confidence that results from living with unstable housing.
Mikiala also teaches cognitive and non-cognitive skills that promote language, literacy, and social skills necessary for school success. The program also teaches positive parenting strategies and engages families in activities to support their children’s overall development and academic success. Health screenings also identify developmental related issues and provide referrals for necessary services.
By teaching families basic skills, how to utilize supportive services and develop self-sufficiency; Mikiala will bridge the gap from homelessness to housing through an informative environment where they can grow together and build a stronger family unit better prepared to support each other.