University of New Mexico Family Development Program

Changing the early learning paradigm that informs how teachers, parents and policy makers think about young childrens' learning is the charge of the Family Development Program at the University of New Mexico. As part of its work to strengthen early childhood education, the Family Development Program joined the statewide grassroots, advocacy coalition “Decade of the Child,” and, together, they launched the effort “Launching the Decade of the Child: Strong Starts for Our Children.” This initiative brought together teen parents, urban Native Americans, immigrant populations, families without homes, and incarcerated parents to talk and act together to support children’s growth and development. Following the dialogues, people in eight sites across Albuquerque, including one virtual site, formed action teams to create:

  • Links between two websites ( and that connect New Mexico’s early childhood professionals through discussion groups, collaboration tools, and video chat and to resources through an extensive online, bilingual directory.
  • The Helen Cordero Elementary School community garden to help advocate for healthy foods and nutrition. The group running the garden is currently talking with the Albuquerque Public Schools to get more land to expand the garden.

More work also took place outside of these action teams. Members of Families United for Education who took part in the effort adopted the Strong Starts for Children discussion materials and process to help advance their work on a family engagement policy for the Albuquerque Public Schools.

December 13, 2011

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