To provide a safe, supportive, and academically inspiring environment for the children of parents working in the thoroughbred racing backstretch area located at New York’s historic Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack, and Saratoga Race Course. We are committed to promoting early childhood education, molding young minds, and encouraging the fulfillment of dreams.
DESCRIPTION OF THE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM
The First Five Years Initiative is an early childhood education program that incorporates a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) based curriculum to prepare the children for elementary school. Our children are learning while having fun and developing physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively.
The First Five Years Initiative provides children with a safe learning environment while their parents are working on the backstretch. The program starts at 5 a.m. because the backstretch workers begin their morning routines with the horses at this time. Before this program, children were dropped off at illegal one room "day care" centers, or they were left in cars while their parents worked. In general, day care centers do not open this early and the lack of financial resources of these families left them with few options. Many of the children attending our program are from immigrant families earning below the poverty level.
BCCA hires an external education company, Bright Horizons, to provide an early childhood educational and development program. The majority of our families receive a subsidy from the Department of Social Services ("DSS") due to their low incomes. To receive funding for a family of two, the maximum annual income is $31,860; for a family of three, maximum income is $40,180; for a family of 4, the maximum income is $48,500. BCCA covers a portion or all remaining tuition costs for the families after the DSS subsidy, which is based on a sliding scale. Unfortunately, the funding provided by DSS has decreased over the years while the need for child care has increased. Therefore, funding required from BCCA to cover the difference has increased. The First Five Years Initiative ensures the safety of these children while preparing them for a successful future regardless of whether or not the families can afford to pay.
EVALUATION AND MEASUREMENT OF SUCCESS
BCCA's Early Childhood Education Program uses the Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG) method of measuring success. TSG is a computerized program which provides a numeric graph with the developmental levels that teachers use when a child achieves specific goals for their age group. The levels are listed from 1-9, with 9 being most proficient. The graph includes social, emotional, and physical goals. Example goals include: managing feelings, making friends, eating and drinking, dressing, walking, sitting and standing, running, jumping, and catching. When a child achieves an objective, the teacher checks off the appropriate developmental level on the graph and logs the date in which it happened. Each child has their own electronic chart which will track their progress from day one until graduation. TSG provides performance and growth reports which are then evaluated by teachers to determine if a child is on track or falling behind. After evaluation, teachers meet with parents to discuss the growth of the child and provide solutions to achieve goals if a child is falling behind.
Since its opening in 2003:
- Anna House has educated over 1,000 students.
- BCCA has raised $10,000,000 to cover tuition and operational expenses.
- In addition to ringing the NASDAQ closing bell, BCCA is a proud recipient of the Ellen and Herb Moelis Industry Service Award presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America.