Our Mission, Vision, & History
ChildStrive partners with families to support young children’s success in daily life and in the community.
Our vision is that all children will be ready to succeed in school and in life.
Children from certain populations have difficulties when they begin school, and often these difficulties result in school failure or the need for remedial and special education. These populations include children who have delays due to disabilities and children who are at risk of developing delays due to environmental factors such as poverty, homelessness, abuse, and neglect.
Why we do what we do
Science proves it. Helping babies and toddlers early on in life leads to greater outcomes. In the first few years of life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second. By the age of 3, the brain triples in weight and the number of synapses reaches a peak of about one quadrillion too! That’s twice the connections of an adult brain. This time of brain development can be maximized to set a strong foundation for learning.
We know that very young children learn best in their natural environments and through their primary relationships. This is why our staff work with families in their homes and community settings to provide services and therapies. All of our programs adhere to evidence-based practices and focus on incorporating opportunities for learning into the families’ daily routines and utilize reflective questioning to identify and build on family strengths.
ChildStrive was founded as Little Red School House in 1963 by local community members, parents, and the South Snohomish County Exchange Club to provide education and specialized therapies to children with developmental disabilities, ages birth through 12th grade. When school districts began to serve children with developmental delays, Little Red School House focused its program on the needs of children birth to five years of age. In 1973, school districts began to serve children three to five years of age, and Little Red School House modified its mission to serve only the population that was currently unserved: infants and toddlers, to age three.
In 1984, Little Red School House qualified for certification from the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and became the first non-profit organization to contract to provide services for local school districts. In 1988 Little Red School House expanded to Everett, Washington and in 1994, at the invitation of the Tulalip Tribes, services were extended to families and children living on the Tulalip Reservation.
In 2003, Little Red School House expanded its mission to include outreach services to children birth to three “at risk” for developmental delays. In this outreach program, children in local homeless shelters, transitional housing, and childcare settings are screened in an effort to identify those children who are falling behind their peers. The objective of the outreach program is to increase the likelihood that children in transition will be successful in school by improving their readiness to learn.
In 2007, Little Red began its transition to a Parent Coach model of providing services. This best practice model allows staff to better serve each family, and maximizes family learning opportunities.
In 2011, the Snohomish Health District transitioned its Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) maternal-health program to Little Red School House. NFP is an evidence-based home-visiting program available for first-time mothers, 25 years of age and younger. Specially trained public health nurses visit families in their home through their pregnancy and continue to visit until the child’s second birthday.
In early 2013, Little Red School House began its Parents As Teachers (PAT) program in partnership with housing providers to serve homeless and other vulnerable families through an intensive home-visiting program focused on offering parenting support and breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
Little Red School House celebrated its 50th Anniversary in September 2013. Realizing that the mission had evolved over the years, the Board of Trustees announced a name change to “ChildStrive” to better reflect the services currently offered.
Every year, ChildStrive staff create opportunities for over 2,000 children and their families that enable them to imagine a different, and brighter future.
Brody went from being a content little baby to being inconsolable almost overnight. Once referred to ChildStrive the family learned how to communicate, deal with food allergies and worked on behavior challenges. Though Brody was later diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, with the support of his parents and therapists he will be entering a typical kindergarten class in the Fall.