Awareness around the importance of quality early care and education programs has been raised throughout the country and Bright EYES is Longmont’s own initiative to promote quality programs for pre-school-aged children. The EYES in Bright EYES stands for Early Years Education Stewards and conveys our vision of Longmont’s role in providing the best possible opportunities for our community’s youngest learners.
The Bright EYES initiative was formed in 2003, when a local ad-hoc group of representatives from the City of Longmont, the St. Vrain Valley School District and several Longmont health and human service agencies formed to focus on ways that the Longmont community could help ensure that ALL Longmont children have a healthy start in life and are ready to learn when they enter school. Bright EYES hired its first project coordinator in March 2007, with funding provided by the City of Longmont. In April 2007, Bright EYES launched the Mayor’s Book Club program, which encourages 3 and 4 year olds and their parents and caregivers to read a new book together monthly.
In the fall of 2010, Bright EYES undertook a strategic planning initiative to realign its goals and strategies with a new decade. The following vision and mission statements came out of this strategic planning, as well as 2 important ongoing tasks:
Vision Statement: Longmont’s Early Learners: Ready for School. Ready for Life!
Mission Statement: Engaging and Connecting Longmont Area Families with Early Learning Resources and Opportunities
Seeking out the variety of financial resources for early learning opportunities for our underserved populations
Mapping the various early learning resources available in Longmont to identify current gaps
Early Learning Opportunities:
Mayor's Book Club
The Mayor’s Book Club was established in 2007 to not only help 3 and 4 year-olds develop a love for reading and learning at an early age, but to create a level playing field for all of our youngest learners. The “achievement gap” in Longmont, or the disparity in key academic scores, falls along socio-economic and ethnic lines. Our program is open to all 3-4 year olds in Longmont, but in an effort to close the achievement gap before Kindergarten, we make a special effort to recruit families who are lower income and newer immigrants.
New Initiative! The Reading League/La Liga de Lectura
The Reading League is in response to Longmont's Grade-Level Reading Plan and its aim is to mobilize members of the Longmont community to take an active part in making sure our 3rd graders are reading on grade-level.
Bright EYES is proud to host biennial Early Learning Summits for teachers, directors and staff from public, private and faith-based preschools across greater Longmont. These summits are held in the winter soon after the new year (workshops and a plenary problem-solving session) and the fall (networking and either a panel discussion or a plenary session).
The newly-remodeled Wild Plum Center at 839 Meeker Street in Longmont has been transformed into a Family Resource Center that houses early education classrooms as well as resources and activities for the adjacent Kensington neighborhood.
Are you looking for quality child care for your child? Qualistar, which rates childcare programs in your area, has an online search engine for quality childcare and preschool programs. You will need to register, but then will be able to do a customized online search. Here is the link: http://www.qualistar.org/child_care/