YouthBridge Awards Grant to LUME Institute’s ElevatED Venture

At the awards ceremony for the Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition (SEIC) through the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Washington University on April 21, the LUME Institute received a $35,000 grant from YouthBridge Community Foundation for its ElevateED venture.

YouthBridge has proudly participated in the SEIC for 11 years, and at this 2016 event, there was a total of $175,000 awarded to local organizations from various funders.

The LUME Institute approach is to nurture the development of children through creativity, psychodynamics, literacy, empathy, compassion and inclusiveness as based on LUME’s proven and award winning model. LUME offers systemic and comprehensive approaches to early childhood education that engage, impact, and transform communities. LUME is dedicated to promoting innovative thinking, exploration, and knowledge sharing, while developing methodologies that deepen understanding of how children learn and grow.

One such program within the organization is ElevatED. The mission of LUME’s ElevatED venture is to elevate the field of early childhood education by providing a cost-effective process to qualify and assess early childhood educators/candidates, reducing the rate of turnover in the field, and improving outcomes for children and families.

“Because what happens early in life lasts a lifetime, a child’s first educator could very well be the most important educator of his or her life,” Steve Zwolak, CEO of the LUME Institute, explained.  “But the unfortunate reality is that many early childhood educators are unprepared for the rigors and demands of the early childhood classroom and turnover is great. Early childhood educators are essential in creating healthy attachments, which is the foundation for academic readiness and success. “

The solution to the 25-40% annual turnover crisis in early childhood education is ElevatED, an online tool that assesses a candidate’s behavioral indicators and emotional disposition. ElevateED will report on a prospective educator’s behavioral indicators and emotional dispositions by measuring his or her status – Needs Development, Meets Standards, and Demonstrates Strength – in the areas of Temperament, Attachment, Self-regulation, Autonomy, Resilience, and Identity.

The LUME Institute believes the role of the early childhood educator is crucial in supporting the emotional and developmental needs of children. Some interesting supporting facts include:

  • 90% of the child’s brain architecture is developed by the age of five.
  • The development of a child’s self-control, or ability to express emotions and manage behavior in healthy ways, is dependent on healthy attachments early in life.
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences prevent healthy attachments by leaving a lasting signature on a child’s genetic predisposition that affects emerging brain architecture and long-term health and mental health.