The first five years of a child's life are a time of enormous social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth. For children to grow into successful adults, they need a supportive and healthy early foundation. We know that nearly 1/2 of the children in our community are not prepared to enter kindergarten ready to learn, and we know that children who start out behind, tend to stay behind. In fact, nearly 2/3 of students who reach the fourth grade without proficient reading skills end up on welfare or in prison.
Today we stand at a unique threshold of opportunity for our community; our Mayor has chosen Metro United Way to be the community-wide convener in transforming Early Care and Education, based on our significant work in early childhood education including our most recent achievements with our Excellence Academy early learning centers through our collaboration with the Lift a Life Foundation and Community Coordinated Child Care. We now lead our community's Ready for K Alliance partnership of nearly 100 partners for aligned strategies to boost improved early educational attainment, with a bold goal that 77% of our region's children will be prepared for kindergarten by 2020.
Kindergarten Readiness - Early Childhood Development Resources
The benefits of kindergarten readiness includes raising lifetime wages and reducing the likelihood that children will drop out of school. That's why our efforts with our Excellence Academy program are so important; thanks to a grant from the Lift a Life Foundation and in partnership with Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C), we're strengthening the skills of preschool teachers, improving classroom environments and teaching kids to love learning.
TRAINING EXCELLENT TEACHERS
Ensuring that young children have both involved and intentional teachers is one of the most critical elements to achieving school readiness. Our teachers receive hands-on coaching through a partnership with Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C) to help improve quality in their individual classrooms.
Our classrooms incorporate the "Reggio Emilia" approach to early childhood. In this approach, the classroom is thought of as the "third teacher" and includes elements like neutral colors, home-like touches, natural materials and intentional invitations to learn, so children's curiosity can develop organically within a supportive environment.
ACHIEVING EXCELLENT RESULTS
Through the Excellence Academy, we've increased the quality of early learning in existing centers serving high-risk kids. Recent findings indicate that our EA kids are two times more likely to be ready for kindergarten than their like peers who did not attend one of our EA early learning centers. We're also proud to say that 24 of our teachers have now received their Child Development Associate Certificate advancing their professional development.
AGES & STAGES QUESTIONNAIRES
By doing some fun, simple activities together and filling out the Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ), you'll be able to monitor your child's early development and make sure they're on track.