Briya Sweet Dreamzzz Training

Good night and Sweet Dreamzzz: Briya students learn about sleep

Following his teacher’s lead, Samuel gently places his teddy bear in its cardboard bed, tucks the yellow blanket under its chin and whispers, “Good night.”

Samuel and his fellow Briya prekindergarten students were practicing bedtime routines as part of sleep education training provided by Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc., a nonprofit that educates at-risk children and their families on the importance of sleep in order to improve children’s health, well-being and academic performance.

The training began with a workshop for Briya adult students in which they learned a variety of sleep-related information, including recommended hours of sleep for different age groups, benefits of sleep (which include improved school performance) and how to create a bedtime routine for their children.

In a separate session, the organization trained Briya teachers in leading these parent workshops, equipping them to teach sleep education to future students.

After the parent workshop, Briya pre-kindergarteners spent two weeks learning about sleep in their classrooms. Teachers used materials provided by Sweet Dreamzzz to teach good sleep habits and the parts of a bedtime routine, such as eating a healthy snack and doing a relaxing activity like reading.

Teacher reading to student laying down to go to bedEach pre-k student received their own teddy bear, along with a cardboard box bed and a blanket for the bear. Students named their bear and decorated its bed and blanket.

Children then used their bears to practice the sleep skills they were learning in class. They read stories to their bears and put the bears to bed, covering them with the blanket. They also brought their bears to sleep with them during nap time every day.

On final day of the two-week period, pre-k students took their teddy bears home, well prepared for good sleep and school success!

Pre-K Studies

Studies provide pre-kindergarten students with in-depth learning

Pre-K classes at each of Briya’s three sites have been busy this winter doing studies on boxes, buildings, and clothing. Studies in pre-K classrooms last from six to ten weeks and allow preschoolers to dig deep into a particular topic.Student learning about boxes


Boxes study at Bancroft site

Pre-K students at Briya’s Bancroft site did a study on boxes. They explored and used boxes in a variety of ways, including using their imagination to convert boxes into a police car, a spaceship, a snowman and more! They tested, discussed and evaluated a pulley system and a dolly. Students learned the difference between sturdy and flimsy boxes and talked about how fragile objects are often wrapped in boxes. Students also had the chance to be engineers. They designed and created their own sturdy boxes using various materials, tested the boxes’ strength with blocks, reinforced the weak points, decorated them and finally packed them with a fragile gift to take home to their parents.

 

Student learning about buildings

Building study at Georgia site

Georgia Avenue pre-K students investigated buildings. They read stories relating to building, such as Three Little Pigs and Tools Rule. They also discussed and explored a variety of questions, including: what are the parts of a building? what are buildings made of? who builds buildings? what tools do we use to build buildings? what happens inside buildings? and more. Students learned vocabulary words related to buildings, and these same words were highlighted in visually appealing ways along with learning activities and sent home to parents each week. The classroom was filled with their projects and pictures of buildings and building parts. They also visited the construction site near the school, went to a local design and building firm, had a visit from an architect, made a large blueprint for their classroom and had the chance to go on a field trip to the National Building Museum.

Students and teacher posing with a sewing machine

 

 

Clothing study at Ontario site

The two pre-K classes at Briya’s Ontario Road site spent time studying clothing. Guest speakers demonstrated how clothing is made, and students had the chance to practice sewing by hand with a needle and thread and ripping out seams with a seam ripper. In addition, students learned about uniforms and had a visit from DC firefighters, who explained how their uniforms protect them during fires. The unit also included a field trip to Target, where the children met employees, got a tour of the clothing section, and learned how clothing is organized and how price tags are attached.

Bowser Visit

Bowser visits Briya student council meeting

Mayor Elect Muriel Bowser visited Briya’s student council meeting this fall, where students asked her to continue to support Briya’s family literacy model. Bowser listened to students’ thoughts on how adult education benefits families and helps students integrate into their community. Students also expressed the need for more a new building so that more families can benefit from Briya’s services.

 

Mayor Bowser gives thumbs up to the student council members

New Preschool Class

Briya Pre-K program adapts to better serve students

The preschool program at Briya’s Ontario Road location has been expanded and improved for this school year.

Instead of having one large preschool class, as the site did previously, preschoolers are now divided into two slightly smaller classes. This enables Briya to serve more students, and the small size of the classes—each has ten students and two teachers—allows each child to receive individual attention.

Dedicated special education staff help work one-on-one and in small groups in each of the classes to meet individual needs and help with literacy and math.

The small class size also makes it easier for the children and their families to get to know one another.

The two classes, which are known as Sol and Luna, join together for activities like music lessons and trips to the park.

Classroom with teacher and students

Pre-K Students Dig into Learning

Pre-K students learn through gardening

This fall, preschoolers at Briya’s Ontario Road site have been learning in the garden! Children heard about how bulbs grow and looked at the different sizes of crocus, tulip, and daffodil bulbs before planting and watering them. In the spring, the children will get to see the bulbs they planted grow into flowers! 

Students also planted purple and yellow pansies in a pattern and learned a song about what flowers need to grow. This hands-on learning connects to lessons about trees and the way plants grow that students have been learning in the classroom. Teachers holding bulbs for students to touch

 

 

 

 

 

Check out more pictures here!

Dept of Ed Visit

US Department of Education leaders visit Briya

Dr. Libby Doggett, Deputy Secretary for Policy and Early Learning at the US Department of Education, visited Briya’s Georgia location on September 29. Sharon Darling, President and Founder of the National Center for Families Learning, and other senior advisors from the Department of Education were also in attendance.

Dr. Doggett and the group toured Briya’s facilities and spent time observing adult education and early childhood classes. Briya leadership demonstrated the importance of integrated adult education and early childhood education. The federal officials were impressed and brainstormed new ways they will integrate support for family literacy in federal policy, regulations and initiatives in the future.

Two Briya students, Anabel Cruz and Yizel Romero Octaviano, then spoke to the group about how Briya’s family literacy model has enabled them to understand how to help their children be successful in school. The group then asked further questions about Cruz’s and Octaviano’s experience and about how and why family literacy programs are effective.Briya student speaks to the group about Briya's family literacy programs

“We hope that this visit will lead to more opportunities to demonstrate the importance of family literacy at the national level,” said Christie McKay, Executive Director at Briya.

AEFL Week 2014

Briya student advocates for family literacy, wins essay contest

Briya student Elisabeth Hando advocates for herself and others during Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFL) WeekBriya student Elisabeth Hando stepped up to advocate for herself and others during Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFL) Week, September 22-26.

Hando, a native French speaker from Cameroon, started as an Advanced II student at Briya this year. As an assignment in her Digital Literacy class, Hando wrote a letter to mayoral candidate and 4th Ward council-member Muriel Bowser, responding to the question, “What motivated you to go back to school, and how has that decision impacted your life and your family’s life?”

Hando’s letter was selected for submission to the citywide AEFL Week essay contest, sponsored by the DC Adult and Family Literacy Coalition. Her letter won first place in the ESOL category.

“I was motivated to continue my education and learn English so that I could support my children with their homework and for access to more job opportunities,” Hando said in the letter. “Most of the families that flee their countries in difficult conditions seek a better life, and they deserve education opportunities.”

Hando was recognized for her outstanding essay at the AEFL week Big Tent Meeting on September 26, where she was awarded a Dell laptop and had a chance to address the audience.

Hando explained how education allowed her to improve her English and gave her the confidence and skills to open her own daycare and start her own nonprofit organization, Renaissance Center for Culture and Education, which offers programs including mentoring, performance art and French language classes for children.

In addition to winning the essay contest, Hando was part of a group of adult learners, including six other Briya students, who attended AEFL Advocacy Day at the Wilson Building on September 24. The group met with council-member Bowser to advocate for family literacy and adult education programs.

Hando spoke to Bowser, using her experience to demonstrate the importance of programs like Briya’s.

“Adult education should be a priority because it has a lot of impact on our families,” Hando said.

Medical Assistants Recognized

Medical assistant students recognized, welcomed

In an evening of celebration, students in the first and second classes of Briya’s medical assistant program participated in a recognition and induction ceremony.

The class of 2014 was acknowledged for finishing their MA program coursework and for completing or being in the process of completing their 160-hour externship. These students then helped induct the class of 2015 by pinning them with an MA pin.

Begun in fall 2013, the MA program is a collaboration with Briya’s longtime partner, Mary’s Center. It is an 18-month course designed to prepare students for a career as medical assistants, who work alongside physicians and perform administrative and clinical duties.

Maria Gomez, founder and president of Mary’s Center, spoke at the ceremony about the need for medical assistants and the importance of their ability to make a human connection with patients, an element that can get lost as systems become more automated.Medical Assistant student recieves a pin

“It was nice to see the MA group that is finishing take part in inducting the MA group that is just beginning,” said Ingrid Andersson, an MA instructor. “It brought the whole thing full-circle.”

We Are Briya!

Briya students practice English and computer skills by developing how-to videos

This summer, Briya’s Advanced English and Digital Literacy classes participated in a video project designed to help students improve their English and technology skills through videos that teach fellow students how to act in real-world situations. The completed videos can be found here.

In their English classes, the students learned about character development, story arc and writing scripts. Then they selected topics—such as how to interview for a job, how to open a bank account and how to be safe in the street—relevant to other students. They wrote their scripts using Google Docs, filmed their videos on iPads and edited their videos using YouTube editor.

“Editing our movie was my favorite part,” said student Aleykutty Holley. “My teammates and I felt very creative being able to design the look of our movie with YouTube Editor. It was a good experience, and I will definitely use this program in the future!”

On the final day of class, students and their children participated in a film festival where they enjoyed snacks, viewed their class’s films and voted for awards including Best Acting, Best Costumes and Props, Best Story and Best Editing.

Teachers found the project to be a worthwhile experience for their students. “I enjoyed helping the students build their confidence in skills and tasks they’d never encountered before,” said Brittany Pope, a Digital Literacy instructor. “It was a tall order for them to write, film and produce their own movies, but their persistence and teamwork was inspiring.”

The project was inspired by the We Are New York television series, which aims to help viewers learn English through episodes about practical issues.

    Briya student filming a kitchen sceneBriya students editing a filmBriya students watching the film festival in class