In Spanish, amanecer means “the beginning of a new day.” In 1975, IDRA began a new day in public education by developing the AMANECER curriculum – one of the first bilingual early childhood curricula in the country. AMANECER was based on the then groundbreaking premise that children and families whose first language is not English must have access to quality education at the earliest levels of school. It also was based on research by IDRA and others that bilingual education is the best way to teach English while also teaching other subjects, making bilingual education in early childhood classrooms a key focus of IDRA’s work throughout the years.
IDRA’s U.S. Department of Education-funded Reading Early for Academic Development research a decade ago showed dramatic school readiness results among participating children and informed the development of a “Classroom of Excellence” model for early childhood classrooms of excellence. IDRA’s early childhood education research provides further grounding for the Annual IDRA La Semana del Niño Early Childhood Educators Institute, the nation’s only gathering place for teachers and parents concerned with early childhood education of English learners.
IDRA research also informed Semillitas de Aprendizaje™ – a unique bilingual (Spanish/English) supplemental curriculum that is helping teachers foster literacy, numeracy and social-emotional development, while valuing and capitalizing on children’s home language and culture (see stories: Building Interest in STEM through Language Development and Storytelling and The Philosophy Behind Semillitas de Aprendizaje™).
In an impact evaluation of the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP), IDRA found that AVANCE family’s students had a lower high school attrition rate than the rest of Hispanic students in Texas. AVANCE is a non-profit parent-child education and family support organization that provides innovative education and family support services to predominantly Hispanic families in disadvantaged communities. IDRA’s study is the first to follow the participants 10 years after their graduation from AVANCE. It demonstrated that families in challenging socio-economic conditions can effectively help their children’s succeed in school, when the appropriate support is provided.