The Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) Program is a training program for parents of preschool-aged youth in Ashland County. SPARK strengthens and empowers parents as the primary educators of their child and help the child learn skills to prepare for kindergarten. Parents are given lessons/activities to be completed with their child based on the Ohio Early Learning and Development Standards.
Parents or guardians are educated in activities to develop their children’s social and emotional well-being, oral language skills, and motor development.
- Social and emotional well-being: Assisting young children with developing the ability to recognize emotions, healthy emotional expression, and developing the ability to recognize the emotions of others. This development helps prepare youth for new learning and enhances their ability to function in a school setting with peers and adults and as a member of the community as a whole.
- Oral language development: Oral language acquisition is the conduit for all early learning. Parents learn how to engage their child in conversations that arouse natural curiosity about the world and stimulate the desire to learn about topics found in books and other materials.
- Motor development: Small and large motor skills are vital to future physical demands. Academically, being able to sit upright or grasp objects are the precursors to reading and writing.
Parents are also provided supplemental resources that are kept in the home to support ongoing learning. The Parent-Partners meet with their families individually on a monthly basis, at minimum, for up to sixteen planned visits throughout the year. The SPARK program is offered at NO COST to families.
The SPARK program is funded in part by United Way of Ashland County.