With a firm footing in research and academic advancements, our work is grounded by a core set of principles, strategies, and values that ensure we provide the best in early childhood education.
We know that a better, brighter future starts now, one child at a time.
Our guiding principles root our work, shape our strategies, and influence how we prioritize a child’s complex developing world.
How a child’s brain forms in the earliest years of life is directly impacted by the kinds of interactions the child does—or does not—receive. Communication and social skills are developed in large part by how a caregiver responds to babbling, cooing, or crying. Responsive interactions support healthy brain development and include the use of words, eye contact, or physical touch, like a hug.
REDUCTION OF STRESS
Families living in poverty experience stress at toxic levels. The impact of this stress can last a lifetime, causing developmental delays in childhood and serious health issues, like heart disease and depression, in adulthood. Our Family Partnership Team works to reduce stress through one on one case management, parenting support and play therapy.
EXECUTIVE FUNCTION SKILLS
In order for anyone to succeed, they must be able to focus, prioritize, and set goals in an increasingly chaotic world. By supporting the development of executive function and self-regulation skills, we equip kids to do exactly that. Building executive function skills in children is one of the surest ways to benefit families and society as a whole.
Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning
Cognitive, social-emotional and motor measurement of students from initial enrollment screening through their last screening before Kindergarten
Our strategies influence the programs we develop and how we develop them. Our programs evolve and change, and we are constantly seeking to innovate.
What looks like play in our classrooms is really the opportunity to develop social and cognitive skills. We do this by surrounding our students with highly-trained, responsive teachers.
Education doesn’t stop with our students and families. SouthSide teachers have access to an ongoing mentorship program to ensure continuous growth and engagement.
Through our Family Partnership program, parents have access to the services and support they need to best care for their children, including parent coaching, family engagement, and case management. We believe that families who are treated with dignity as equal partners are the foundation of building a strong future for kids.
Teaching Strategies Impact
Every year, our SouthSide kids improve their social-emotional and cognitive development. Social-emotional development includes skills like cooperation, trust, paying attention, and cultivation of emotional intelligence, while cognitive development includes skills like language, numeracy, vocabulary, and pre-reading.
By listening deeply, living out our mission as lifelong learners, and championing strengths, we lift up the families we serve--and they lift us up, too.
Our work never stops. If we can do better, we must do better. Continuous reflection promotes innovation and staves off complacency.
RACIAL EQUITY LENS
We’re working towards a racially equitable society where challenges, opportunities, and resources aren’t determined by race. To do this, we seek to understand how inequity affects every facet of life.
INCLUSION OF PARENT VOICES
Parents are our partners. We need to hear their voices, stories, hopes, and concerns to create a future that includes not just the success of their children, but of them as well.
We know what creates high quality early childhood education. We don’t guess or dawdle in the abstract. We use research to inform our practices, and rely on brain science to provide the best for our kids.
Everyone has strengths--abilities, talents, or ways of understanding that are far more powerful than any deficit. We focus on strengths, and nurture and expand them.
Kindergarten Transition Results
Both parents and teachers responded that SouthSide graduates are well-prepared for Kindergarten!
After 3 years, Jorge has transformed.
When Jorge joined SouthSide on the eve of his third birthday, he couldn’t communicate in English or Spanish, wasn’t potty trained, and needed constant one-on-one support.
After 3 years of on-site therapy for speech, cognition, and OT at SouthSide, Jorge is now on par with his peers, ready to tackle Kindergarten with the happiness and independence that comes with confidence! (Jorge’s DIAL score increased from 16 to 76 during this time period, showing exponential developmental improvement.)
“School readiness” for Kindergarten and beyond is critical. Each day, SouthSide kids take part in carefully planned experiences that promote their interest and growth in literacy, art, mathematics, science, social studies, music and movement.