Early Learning Center Launches Enrollment Cruise

All aboard! The Clare Swan Early Learning Center (CSELC) launched a new two-day “Enrollment Cruise” this week, making it simpler for parents to complete annual paperwork at CSELC.

A CSELC parent fills out paperwork while Teacher Trainer Carrie Hackett holds her baby during this year’s Enrollment Cruise.

“It’s our way of helping parents get all their annual paperwork done, rather than having to stop by our Education, Family Services, Health, and Enrollment departments,” explained Devin Cress, CSELC’s Senior and Family Services Manager. “Instead, parents can get it all done within a two-hour block.”

For two days, July 17 and 18, parents were able to visit CSELC, either by appointment or by dropping in, and complete all the paperwork necessary for the upcoming school year. The one-stop-shop nature of the event streamlines what can otherwise be a time-consuming process of completing annual documents.

Paperwork isn’t inherently fun, but CSELC staff incorporated activities for both parents and kids to make the process enjoyable. Parents carried “passports” to each station, where staff guided them through the necessary forms before giving them a stamp and a parting gift: sunscreen, aloe vera, water bottles, toothbrushes and toothpaste, books, and other summer-related items.

At the end, not only had parents finished all their paperwork, but they walked away with a “summer readiness kit” full of goodies.

CSELC Teacher Erika Chambers ran a photo booth for parents and their kids at this year’s Enrollment Cruise.

Partners like Stone Soup Group, Southcentral Foundation’s pediatrics group, and CITC programs and departments were also on hand to offer information and education. The dietetics team from Southcentral Foundation provided guidance on balanced meals and breastfeeding support.

Parents enjoyed the convenience of getting all their required paperwork done in one session. Meanwhile, Devin said, the Enrollment Cruise helps align CSELC more closely with school readiness goals and with the schedules of Anchorage School District and partner Head Start programs.

Yup’ik Language Coordinator Isty Hlasny guides a parent through paperwork.

It also prepares CSELC parents for the day they’ll register their children for school.

“We don’t want parents being surprised that they need to take time off from work to get their children registered, for example,” Devin elaborated. “Or parents who have dual custody — we can work with them ahead of time to get this paperwork done together in a way that is healthy for their kids. It’s really about supporting all aspects of good family development and social/emotional engagement.”

Going forward, the Enrollment Cruise will be an annual, mandatory event at CSELC. Parents of enrolled CSELC children can watch for additional events by requesting to join the center’s Facebook group. For more information, visit the CSELC webpage.

CSELC staff also offered hearing tests at the first annual Enrollment Cruise.