In late September, Sweet Dreamzzz executive director Nancy Maxwell and director of sleep programs Ann Raftery brought the Sweet Dreamzzz Sleep Education curriculum to the borough of Brooklyn.
The American Sleep Medicine Foundation (ASMF) awarded Sweet Dreamzzz an $18,000 grant in February to serve Community Parents, Inc and Medgar Evers, two Head Start sites in Brooklyn, New York. The grant allowed Sweet Dreamzzz to serve these sites with a Train-the-Trainer seminar, a Parent Sleep Education Workshop (PSEW), and the Early Childhood Sleep Education Program (ECSEP). Additionally, the ASMF grant provided the funds necessary for the organization to develop a new parent newsletter.
In total, 160 3- to 4-year-old preschool students, 160 parents, and nine teachers received Sweet Dreamzzz sleep education. According to Raftery, they trained the staff and teachers so that the centers can be self-sufficient and repeat the student and parent sleep education programs for years to come. In total, the Sweet Dreamzzz sleep education curriculum will now reach over 270 families per year in this area.
“It is with great excitement…that we continue to answer the call for more and better sleep for preschoolers and expand our reach beyond Michigan and into Brooklyn, NY,” says Raftery in a release. “We welcome Community Parents Head Start of Brooklyn to the growing list of Head Start centers in Michigan, Arkansas, Washington, D.C., and now New York. They are bringing our Sweet Dreamzzz sleep education to their preschool parents, students, and teachers, as we continue our mission to bring better sleep and bedtime essentials to children in need to give them a fair chance for academic success and healthy growth.”
Cynthia Cummings, executive director of Community Parents Inc, says, “It’s a bond between school and home. When the teachers can facilitate the program, they can work closer with the families on a daily basis. Although only two of our sites are participating now, we have a third site and that’s definitely something I would like to include because continuity in systems is most important when you’re trying to implement any type of research strategy. It is our intention to add the Sweet Dreamzzz materials at our other location so everyone is doing the same thing.”
The Early Childhood Sleep Education Program is a two-week, in-school program that includes classroom enrichment activities and a sleep kit. The sleep kit given to every child a part of the program includes: a Sweet Dreamzzz teddy bear, cardboard box bed, and felt blanket that will be used in classroom instruction and then taken home, along with a toothbrush and toothpaste. The Parent Sleep Education Workshop features a PowerPoint presentation designed to educate parents on the importance of sleep, the number of hours of sleep required based on age, and a bedtime routine to follow at home. Every parent receives a Sweet Dreamzzz blanket, a book, Sweet Dreamzzz bedtime routine magnet and bedtime routine charts and stickers. These two programs combined with the Train-the-Trainer seminar, help parents, children, and teachers work together to ensure that the children are getting the sleep necessary to learn effectively and stay healthy.
Founded in 1998, Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc is a nonprofit organization committed to improving children’s health, well-being, and academic performance by providing sleep education and bedtime essentials to economically disadvantaged students and their families. Based in Farmington Hills, Mich., Sweet Dreamzzz educates children and families about the benefits of healthy sleep habits and establishing a healthy bedtime routine.