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IMG 3336In this podcast, we spoke with Chris Otis, executive director at Start Making a Reader Today, also known as SMART, and Michelle Gilmore, SMART’s senior program manager. SMART is a nonprofit organization focused on helping kids learn to read and getting more books into the hands of young readers. We learned more about the organization, and their work as part of the Summer Bookworms program at Earl Boyles Elementary School. 

Copy of Revised SteffanyIn this podcast, we speak with Glen Cooper, one of the founders of Circle of Security, a program that helps parents, caregivers, and early childhood educators develop tools to form secure attachments with children and understand how to meet the needs of children who have experienced trauma. Having learned that Circle of Security was being used as part of a pilot program for mothers at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, we were curious to learn more about how the program was developed. Glen, who has extensive training in family system therapy, object relations theory, and attachment theory, worked with colleagues Kent Hoffman and Bert Powell to combine those theories into an approach that allows parents, educators, and caregivers to identify and address the underlying causes of challenging behaviors in children. In this interview, Glen also addresses the unique challenges facing incarcerated parents and how Circle of Security is being used at Coffee Creek and elsewhere to support parents who are in prison and their children.

Earl Boyles ElementaryFor our 23rd segment, we interviewed Dr. Marina Merrill from Children’s Institute (CI) and Dr. Beth Green from Portland State University (PSU). Dr. Merrill is the senior research and policy advisor for CI and leads the organization’s research on prenatal through third-grade issues, evaluation, data collection, and analysis. Dr. Green is a research professor and the director of early childhood and family support research at the Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services at PSU. Our discussion focused on the Early Works initiative, a 10-year initiative working in two Oregon communities: Yoncalla Elementary in Yoncalla which is in Douglas County and Earl Boyles Elementary in Portland in Multnomah County. The project was set up to explore and demonstrate a new approach to education and healthy development for young children and began in 2010.

Home visiting programs support young children and familiesIn this segment, I visited Ha Mi Da and her family at her apartment in Southeast Portland. Ha Mi Da came to the United States from a Burmese refugee camp several years ago and I wanted to learn more about her story, her involvement with home visiting services provided by IRCO, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, and her hopes and dreams for the future. Many thanks to Mihaela Vladescu, the family’s home visitor with IRCO and Healthy Families Oregon, and Min Sein who provided interpretation services during the visit.

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