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Prime Time Pops initiative encourages male role models

Fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other male role models play an important part in the early development and long-term well-being of young children. With that in mind, Prime Time Head Start is launching a new initiative called Prime Time Pops.

Prime Time Pops will involve fathers, grandfathers, community leaders, Prime Time policy council members, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities board members and other male role models in activities at Prime Time Head Start centers throughout the upcoming school year. They will also help bridge the gap while our Head Start programming is closed for the summer.

Throughout the summer break, Prime Time Head Start will be sharing Reading with Prime Time Pops videos on the Prime Time YouTube channel. This weekly video series will feature our “Pops” reading preschool-appropriate books, and combines Prime Time’s goals of promoting family engagement and literacy.

Prime Time Revives Historic Campus with New Head Start Center

Prime Time Head Start officially welcomed students, caregivers and the entire community to its newest Head Start center on April 8.

Prime Time Head Start on the former Immaculate Heart of Mary campus in Lafayette began offering classes in February. It marked the return to use of a historic community institution. The campus can serve more than 200 students.

A program of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Prime Time Head Start was selected by the Office of Head Start to provide Early Head Start and Head Start services within Lafayette and Iberia Parishes in October of 2020. Prime Time is federally funded in Acadiana to serve up to 747 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old, as well as expectant mothers. Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start centers now serve Acadiana families at four locations, with two in Lafayette, one in Jeanerette and one in New Iberia.

Prime Time’s free preschool program uses humanities-based learning to help children build basic skills, develop a love of literacy and hone critical-thinking abilities to set the foundation for lifelong learning while also providing support and services to the entire family. Prime Time also operates Head Start centers in Ouachita Parish, as well as award-winning family reading programs statewide.

 

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Prime Time Cuts Ribbon on Head Start Center in Jeanerette

Prime Time Head Start officially marked the opening of Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start in Jeanerette on April 7.

Students started attending classes on the campus, which is located at the former Jeanerette Elementary School, at the beginning of the school year.

A program of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Prime Time Head Start was selected by the Office of Head Start to provide Early Head Start and Head Start services within Lafayette and Iberia Parishes in October of 2020. Prime Time is federally funded in Acadiana to serve up to 747 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old, as well as expectant mothers. Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start centers now serve Acadiana families at four locations, with two in Lafayette, one in Jeanerette and one in New Iberia.

Prime Time’s free preschool program uses humanities-based learning to help children build basic skills, develop a love of literacy and hone critical-thinking abilities to set the foundation for lifelong learning while also providing support and services to the entire family. Prime Time also operates Head Start centers in Ouachita Parish, as well as award-winning family reading programs statewide.

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Grant Applications for Fall Programs Now Being Accepted

Grant applications are now being accepted from organizations that would like to host a Prime Time family reading program in their community in the fall. 

Applications will be accepted from March 15 until April 15. The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Prime Time reading programs accept applications from community organizations such as schools, libraries, museums, churches and other community-based agencies that possess a valid EIN#. 

“For the first time since the pandemic began we anticipate most, if not all, of our programs will take place in person,” said Miranda Restovic, president and executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Prime Time, Inc. “While we’re proud of what our Prime Time team members, partners and families were able to accomplish virtually during that time, we also know that so much of Prime Time is about the personal connections we make with each other, and we can’t wait to make those connections in person again.” 

Organizations can choose to host a Prime Time Family Reading program for families with children ages 6 to 10 or a Prime Time Preschool Reading program for families with children ages 3 to 5. Prime Time programs are designed to promote literacy and family engagement. Each session begins with a storyteller reading a carefully chosen, award-winning children’s book. Families are then engaged in discussion around the themes found in the book. Preschool programs also involve age-appropriate hands-on activities. 

Organizations whose applications are approved will host the 90-minute sessions once a week for six weeks. Prime Time programs take place at no cost to host organizations or participating families. Each partner site will receive a $1,000 site support stipend and a set of the children’s books used during the program, and participating families will keep all books for their personal home libraries. 

“In the last two years we have been proud to provide programming in a virtual format, which has allowed families to continue to benefit from Prime Time and deepen their connections with program sites and children’s literature,” said Shelley Stocker, vice president of education programs. “Planning for this fall we are hopeful that gathering in person will be possible once again, allowing families to share a meal with each other and enjoy the informal interactions that create lasting engagement with the community organizations and schools that host Prime Time in their communities.”  

Training for selected programs will be provided in July. 

Prime Time’s fall programs are made possible by Baptist Community Ministries, the Carolyn W. and Charles T. Beaird Foundation, Entergy Charitable Foundation, Grayson Foundation, Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation, Gustaf W. McIlhenny Foundation, RosaMary Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Shell, and W.K. Kellogg. 

For more information about Prime Time reading programs, email [email protected]. 

Prime Time Head Start Kicks Off Enrollment for 2022-23 school year

Prime Time Head Start is now accepting applications for free preschool for the 2022-23 school year. 

Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start in Lafayette and Iberia Parishes accepts children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. Prime Time Head Start in Ouachita Parish educates 3- and 4-year-olds.

 “As a parent, safety, high quality, and affordability are high criteria on my personal list when seeking child care,” said Stalanda Butcher, Vice President of Head Start Services for the LEH and Prime Time. “At Prime Time, we go beyond basic licensing safety requirements. Our centers are staffed with highly-qualified teachers and curriculum coaches, we have trained family service advocates and all of our programming is offered at no out-of-pocket cost to families.” 

A program of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Prime TimeHead Start helps children build basic skills, develop a love of literacy and hone critical-thinking abilities that will set the foundation for lifelong learning. Prime Time Head Start follows a Tier 1 Curriculum, the top rating for instructional materials by the Louisiana Department of Education, in order to help provide a seamless transition into kindergarten.  

The Early Head Start program promotes the physical, mental, social and emotional development of infants and toddlers in a safe and caring environment, and the expectant mothers program offers support and services to families before birth. Prime Time welcomes students of all abilities, with 10 percent of seats reserved for children with special needs. 

In addition to services for students, Prime Time embraces a family engagement approach with support and services for the entire family. Those opportunities include help with going back to school and employment, Family Engagement Network Meetings, Family Learning Parties and a parent and caregiver Policy Council through which families help govern Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start centers. 

Families interested in enrolling their child can visit our Lafayette and Iberia page or Ouachita page for more information, registration links and contacts for our enrollment team.

New Director to Lead Prime Time Head Start in Acadiana

Prime Time Inc., the Head Start grantee for Lafayette and Iberia Parishes, has appointed Dena Thomas as the service area’s Head Start Director. 

Thomas most recently served as the Director of Comprehensive Services for Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start, a subsidiary of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. In this role, she worked with family advocates to ensure proper implementation of ERSEA (eligibility, recruitment, selection, and enrollment) systems and tracking of student data, as well as ensured strong family engagement, partnerships and enhancement of the services provided to Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start families.

Thomas has served children and families in the Head Start program in the Acadiana area for more than a decade, working as an operations manager, Head Start center director and Early Head Start teacher in programs throughout Lafayette, Iberia and St. Martin Parishes.

“Dena Thomas has a heartfelt connection to the work of Head Start and Early Head Start. Her extensive early childhood background, appreciation to detail, and unwavering commitment to our children, families, and staff made her the prime candidate,” said Stalanda Butcher, Vice President of Head Start Services for LEH and Prime Time, Inc. “I look forward to seeing our programming in Acadiana elevate to greater heights under her leadership.” 

Thomas received her bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her master’s in Business Administration, with a minor in Organizational Leadership, from Ashford University. 

“I am excited and honored to be chosen as director for Prime Time in Acadiana. Providing quality education to young children and comprehensive services to families is my passion,” Thomas said. “As director, I commit to overseeing the implementation of this work and to continuing to build partnerships in Acadiana to help stabilize our community.” 

Prime Time Head Start is federally funded to serve up to 747 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old, as well as expectant mothers, at its centers in Lafayette, New Iberia and Jeanerette. Prime Time’s free preschool program uses humanities-based learning to help children build basic skills, develop a love of literacy and hone critical-thinking abilities to set the foundation for lifelong learning while also providing support and services to the entire family. 

Spring Program Sites Announced in 18 Parishes

Find a Program and Register

Families in 18 parishes will have the opportunity to participate in programs that promote literacy and family bonding this spring through a Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Prime Time reading program.

Prime Time Family Reading, for ages 6-10, and Prime Time Preschool Reading, for ages 3-5, bring families together one night a week for six weeks for reading and discussion. A storyteller reads an award-winning children’s book and families are then guided through discussion of the themes found in the book. The discussion encourages families to personally connect with literature and each other and think beyond surface considerations of who, what, when, and where – by using open-ended questioning that spurs and encourages rich discussion across generations. For Preschool Reading, hands-on activities are incorporated to keep younger children engaged.

Prime Time programs are free for families and the partner organizations throughout the state that host them. Families also get to keep the books from the sessions to help build their home libraries. Prime Time’s spring reading programs are sponsored by BHP SE Coastal, Baptist Community Ministries, the Beaird Family Foundation, the Charles Lamar Family Foundation, the Shell Oil Company Foundation, the Union Pacific Foundation, and the WK Kellogg Foundation.

“More than 40 sites across the state of Louisiana will host a Prime Time program this spring and bring quality family literacy programs to their communities,” said Miranda Restovic, president and executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Prime Time, Inc. “A Prime Time program is an opportunity for families to discuss their thoughts on deep topics and exchange ideas in a way that leads to a more meaningful connection between family members, while teaching children that it’s OK if we don’t always share the same opinions.”

Each Prime Time program is built around a book series examining themes such as caring, sustainability and inquiring. This spring, the St. Charles Parish Library will pilot Prime Time’s newest series, Nourish. Nourish explores the humanities themes found in our food options, traditions, and foodways. Families will explore how our lives are shaped by the foods we eat, and how we connect to our cultures and communities when we gather around a shared table. The series will be available to all program sites in fall 2022.

“It’s always exciting to announce a new Prime Time series,” LEH Vice President of Education Programs Shelley Stocker said. “We think Nourish will be a particularly relatable series for our Prime Time families in Louisiana, where we are so connected to each other and our culture through the food we eat and the gatherings that food inspire, and a wonderful opportunity for families to explore how that is also true throughout the world.”

Due to COVID-19, most programs will remain virtual again this semester.

In addition to Louisiana sites, Prime Time reading programs are hosted by state humanities councils throughout the United States. This spring, six states will offer Prime Time programs to

Entergy Charitable Foundation Grant Supports Family Literacy

The Entergy Charitable Foundation has partnered with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to bring quality literacy programs to Louisiana families.

With a grant totaling $54,067, Entergy is helping to bring six Prime Time Reading programs to families this year, along with trainings and additional parental supports such as podcasts, Spark Boxes and online resources. Entergy’s support ensures that these programs are able to provide critical family literacy support to more than 200 individuals as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are extremely grateful for Entergy’s ongoing commitment to the children and families of the Greater New Orleans area,” LEH Vice President of Education Programs Shelley Stocker said. “Their generosity and partnership allow us to consistently offer Prime Time in the New Orleans area, programming that connects families to each other and literacy through the humanities.”

Prime Time Reading programs bring families together one night a week during six-week sessions to read award-winning children’s books and discuss the themes found within them. Prime Time programs open up conversations centered on the big ideas found in these books, helping participants make personal connections to books and each other. Families get to keep the books from the sessions to build their home libraries. With Entergy’s help, Prime Time will be able to distribute nearly 700 books to families.

“Readers are leaders and there’s no better place to cultivate the joy of reading for children than at home,” said Patty Riddlebarger, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Entergy Corporation. “Entergy is proud to partner with LEH to bring Prime Time to families across Louisiana.”

Entergy’s investment will also support 64 Parishes, LEH’s award-winning magazine. The 64 Parishes editorial team works with writers, scholars, photographers and culture bearers from Louisiana and beyond, covering history and culture as well as foodways, music, literature and all the myriad ways Louisianans express themselves.

Union Pacific Supports Prime Time Reading Programs

Families in two parishes will have the opportunity to experience a Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Prime Time reading program thanks to a donation from Union Pacific.

Union Pacific recently donated $10,000 to make the programs possible in Caddo and Calcasieu Parishes, bringing its total support to the LEH and Prime Time to more than $128,000.

“We are deeply grateful to Union Pacific for its ongoing support of education programming from LEH,” said Shelley Stocker, vice president of education programs. “Its dedication allows us to deepen our connections and sustainability in parishes across Louisiana.”

Programs coming to Caddo and Calcasieu, and to parishes throughout Louisiana, in Spring 2022 are Prime Time Family Reading and Prime Time Preschool Reading. During the six-week-long programs, a storyteller reads a carefully selected children’s book and families are then lead through a discussion of the themes found in the books. The programs are designed to promote literacy, critical thinking and family bonding.

“The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities has been a long-time partner of the Union Pacific Foundation,” said Drew Tessier, senior director public affairs for Union Pacific Railroad. “We are proud of the small part we play in bringing the Prime Time program to the communities in which our employees live and work.”

Prime Time reading programs are hosted by local community organizations that are supported by Prime Time and grants made possible by donors such as Union Pacific.

“We can only bring Prime Time reading programs to parishes across the state through support from organizations such as Union Pacific that recognize the importance of literacy and family engagement and make the commitment to bring those programs to their communities,” said Miranda Restovic, president and executive director of the LEH and Prime Time, Inc.

Spring 2022 program sites are currently being finalized. Families can find their program site once they are finalized.