Co-authored by:
Associate Director Liz Cortez
Early Learning Program Manager Ada Freund
Mission Promise Neighborhood, San Francisco

Early/Head Start programs promote school readiness of young children (0-5) from low-income families by supporting the development of the whole child. These vital programs create a positive environment to support the growth of children via a diverse range of services, which include early learning, health and family well-being. Program staff actively engage families, using a variety of tailored parenting curricula, around children’s learning and development. 

The Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors curriculum — the first evidence-based program developed for and by Latinx parents with children ages 0-5 — has proven to be the perfect fit for our community in the Mission District of San Francisco. The 15+ partners of the Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) community anti-poverty education initiative work collectively to increase the access of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors for our families. 

One such community-based organization is MPN partner Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. (MNC) Early/Head Start Program, which has offered its families the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors curriculum for over a decade. In that time, MNC has successfully strengthened families by building on their parental knowledge, skills and confidence. Through this work, MNC has partnered with parents to support their leadership development in being their child’s first and most important teacher. The comprehensive Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors curriculum offers additional benefits to families, such as a focus on well-being, advocacy skills and building relationships with peers. 

Following are the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors 10 themed sessions:

  1. I am my child’s first teacher; our home, my child’s first school
  2. My child’s growth and development
  3. The power of words
  4. Healthy Body/Healthy Mind, Part 1: Nutrition and Physical Activity
  5. Healthy Body/Healthy Mind, Part 2: Social-Emotional Well-being
  6. My child, media and technology
  7. Count with me
  8. Let’s get ready for school
  9. Champions for our children’s future
  10. Yes, we can! Graduation

Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors is built on the “popular education” model, which focuses on active engagement from participants and the incorporation of their experiences into the learning process. Popular education teaches that everyone has something to contribute to the learning process, and increases parents’ confidence to play an active role in supporting their children’s learning and development.

The Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors curriculum has demonstrated positive impact on the families that have participated in our community. Parent facilitator Albertina recently shared: “The program teaches us how to advocate for our children … helping to open doors for school success.” (Watch this inspiring two-minute video featuring three MPN parent stories).

At MNC, teachers, family support staff and parents partner to ensure that children receive high-quality early care and education, and that parents garner the knowledge and skills to support their children’s learning and development. By inspiring parents to be a part of the learning process through the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors curriculum, Mission Promise Neighborhood is ensuring that our community’s children are healthy, ready for school and on track for lifelong success.



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