Ingram, Sullivan Seek to Inspire With Cradle to College Program
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Dr. Roxanne Sullivan, Professor in the College of Arts and Science’s psychology department, and Lynette Ingram, Relationship Manager in the Community Affairs department, teamed up this fall to present Cradle to College, a program to aid metropolitan area parents as their child transitions into the education system. This is the second time the pair has collaborated on the program.
“The goal is to help parents inspire a love of learning in their preschool-age children that can continue on, so that the children will be interested in going further than high school, into college or some type of post-secondary education,” Sullivan said. “By starting early, the hope is that parents can continue to engender that love of learning throughout the child's school years.”
Part of the program is to present higher education as something for which to strive.
“Before we do the workshops, the parents and the kids, take a tour of the area colleges and universities and they end up at (Bellevue University),” Sullivan said. “They play with some of the basketball players down in the gym, and they get an idea what college is all about. They really love it.”
Ingram was pleased with the enthusiastic response she received when approaching potential partners about the program.
“They were really open to hearing about what we had to offer,” she said. “They were on-board with what we were trying to accomplish.”
The program is designed to help parents of at-risk youth inspire of love of learning. The meetings took place at the Parent University through the Douglas County Learning Community in North Omaha. For each class, Sullivan and Ingram stuffed a backpack with a variety of items to keep kids engaged with the learning process. Items included a spiral notebook, coloring sheets, and crayons. This year, it even included a pot, planting soil and seeds.
“We’re planting the seeds of learning and they watch it grow. They're supposed to take pictures every week to see how they grow. They can decorate the little plant pots,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan and Ingram worked with about four families this fall and, while they would like to see a higher turnout, some early positive feedback indicates they are having an impact.
The next Cradle to College workshop series is tentatively scheduled for March 2018.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Ingram said. “It’s great to see these kids and their parents come to campus – to see people that look like them going to class.”