MILWAUKEE — The pandemic has cost our children hundreds of hours of in-class learning.
Next Door's early childhood education program leaders have been working hard to reopen and re-imagining their current spaces to teach future generations.
Next Door president Tracy Sparrow emphasized, “We believe that in-person instruction is better for children.”
The organization which serves infants to kindergartners has a new initiative to make up for precious time called ‘Accelerating Equity.’
Sparrow explains, “We know that we can’t come back next school year and just consider it 'business as usual,' because that won’t work.”
Sparrow points out their effort to renovate, starting with their 29th Street location, “So that they would inspire children.”
All of this was done through generous donations from their 2019 fundraiser, where they celebrated their 50th anniversary just before the pandemic hit us all.
One of the most jaw-dropping renovations is the new reading library. “They put this beautiful tree right here so that children have a space to sit in and read a book,” Sparrow said.
Teacher Shalaya Morehouse says her children love it, “They were so amazed with the renovation they were like, ‘animals!’ ‘the books!’"
Morehouse is also thrilled with the ocean-themed gym created for her toddler classes to explore, “It strengthens their muscles so that they’re able to climb and jump.”
The older children have a more advanced gym that has an 'outerspace' theme.
Next Door also created another space with moms and dads in mind. They have tables and stools set up for parents to sit down, relax and connect with teachers and other parents in the community.
Morehouse can’t wait for it to be safe enough for everyone to take advantage of the cafe-style relaxed space for the adults to enjoy and, "To say ‘hey your child is doing awesome!’ ‘how are you today?’ ‘is there anything that I can do for you?’”
Here is your Rebound Rundown:
- Next Door’s 54th & Capitol location is also set for renovations sometime soon.
- New or gently used children's books donations are welcome to give to help children build their reading library at home.
- Click here to see Next Door's Amazon wish list.
- Book drives are welcome!
- Fully vaccinated people can volunteer to clean donated books that come in.
- If interested, reach out to mstevens@NextDoorMKE.org
- Volunteers who read to the children is still on hold for health and safety reasons.
- Next Door has a volunteer opportunity coming soon: For tutors to work one-on-one in the classroom with a student who may need extra guidance in the classroom next school year. Click here to learn more details, as they become available.
- Click here to learn more and support this deserving organization shaping the lives of our future generations.