Grantee Blog 2020

Assessing Pre-K Dental Care Needs in Jamesburg, New Jersey

Schools are on summer recess. In Jamesburg, our target district, school-run camps and other summer programs won’t be operating. But, when school opens in September, whether remotely, in class, or in some hybrid fashion, UWCJ will be ready to start implementing its pre-k dental initiative. The initiative will help Jamesburg’s youngest students, many of whom are at risk for poor dental health, take the first steps to establishing dental homes.

One early, important step will be our needs assessment. Pre-k teachers will be asked to review the assessment, which then will be sent home to all pre-k parents. We hope to start tabulating the responses within 3 weeks of distribution, although there may be a time lag if the first few weeks of school are complicated because of covid-19 requirements.

Survey questions will fall into 2 major categories: (1) dental practices and (2) eating habits. Parents will be asked to answer the questions as they relate to pre-k students in the home. However, as parents read the survey questions, they will begin to think about their dental and nutritional habits in general. As such, the survey will be a learning tool that suggests practices that will benefit of the entire family.

The survey is purposely short, to encourage full responses but still give us a good baseline for project work.

Survey questions about dental practices will include:

-do you have dental insurance?

-do you have a dentist that you go to at least once a year?

-if you don’t go to the dentist, is it because of the cost? You don’t think one is needed? Another reason?

-do you help your child brush his or her teeth?

-do you share eating utensils with your child?

-does your child have cavities now?

Survey questions about nutritional habits will include whether the child:

– drinks juice or soda during the day? How often?

– drinks water during the day? How often?

-eats snacks (cookies, crackers, cheese, fruit, candy)? How often?

-walks around the house or falls asleep with a bottle or sippy cup? Does it usually contain milk, water, or juice?

– eats vegetables at dinner? How often?

About the Grantee

United Way of Central Jersey

United Way of Central Jersey provides leadership to create opportunities for a better life for people living or working in our community who are needy, at risk and vulnerable. We achieve this by mobilizing people, organizations and financial resources to create and sustain programs that achieve targeted outcomes and lasting change through volunteerism, partnerships,services and advocacy.