Family Development Program
“When as educators we expect to make profound changes in our students’ lives, we haven’t the right to begin without their parents at our side.” - Dr. Maria Chavez, Founder
The Family Development Program (FDP) is a community-based outreach program of the University of New Mexico’s College of Education.
We were founded in 1985 through a grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation (The Hague, Netherlands) to develop a unique preschool for families and children in the South Broadway area of Albuquerque, a district with high poverty and predominantly Hispanic residents.
Through 9 years of unprecedented support from the foundation, FDP developed a process for co-designing learning with parents and teachers, which became the hallmark of our distinct approach to professional development.
These efforts demonstrated how real partnerships that combine strengths of parents, teachers, and their community supported by university resources could make a difference for young children.
Based on the success of Escuelita Alegre (the nationally accredited, bilingual, multicultural preschool founded by FDP and spun-off as its own school), the foundation encouraged us to disseminate our educational model statewide. In 1992, the State of New Mexico invested in the initial expansion as a Train the Trainer Program for Bernalillo County. Word quickly spread about the quality of our hands-on training for building partnerships between schools and families, resulting in statewide requests for professional development before our program had the budget capacity to respond. Through the efforts of legislators, additional state funds were acquired to provide outreach to communities throughout New Mexico in years that followed.