Early Care and Education 740

Early education systems work together to support school readiness

woman teaching a childWhat We Do

We collaborate with schools, community organizations, and local funders to establish effective partnerships and encourage alignment in strategies that will promote school readiness for all children.

Why We Do It

Research shows that the first few years of education are critical to a child’s later school success. A child’s early learning experiences form the foundation of reading, counting, and social interaction. Children are best set up for kindergarten success when early learning programs align, providing a continuity in quality and instruction.

Our Results

Our advocacy efforts and financial support have helped increase the availability of high-quality preschool in high-need areas across the County. We are facilitating partnerships to focus efforts and maximize impact in order to ensure all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed

Cradle to Career

We participate in Cradle to Career (C2C) Sonoma County, a collective impact partnership that connects stakeholders involved in all segments of the education continuum, working toward a common goal to improve educational, economic, and health outcomes for Sonoma County youth.

Our participation in the C2C leadership team has been critical for maintaining a voice for children 0-5 and their families. We regularly stress the importance of early investment in young children. Our efforts have helped to strengthen the case for early care and education as a critical component of the academic system, and the need to offer literacy support and scholarships as early as preschool.

Now when Cradle to Career is talked about, so much is about early care and education.

2013 First 5 Sonoma County Stakeholder Survey Respondent

C2C’s Goal 1: Every Child Enters Kindergarten Ready to Succeed

As its first goal, the group is focusing on kindergarten readiness and has asked First 5 to lead the effort. We have partnered with ECE experts to establish four workgroups that will focus on the following issues to address kindergarten readiness:

  • Increase preschool access
  • Identify and promote use of a common kindergarten readiness assessment
  • Increase early literacy
  • Develop a Quality Improvement and Rating System

Learn more about Cradle to Career

Road to the Early Achievement & Development of Youth (READY)

Guided by the vision of our local collective impact initiatives, we are funding READY (Road to the Early Achievement and Development of Youth) – a cross-sector partnership supporting school districts and early childhood educators in their efforts to increase ECE quality and strengthen young learners’ transition to kindergarten. The three READY strategies are:

  • Coaching for early childhood educators
  • Establishing place-based READY teams to develop and guide implementation of a READY action plan
  • Standardizing a kindergarten assessment across all schools and districts

In the first year of implementing READY:

ECE sites worked with READY coaches to develop quality improvement plans based on their site’s CLASS and ERS results

Kindergarten teachers from 52 classrooms in 13 schools completed the KSEP in Fall 2015 for nearly 900 students and baseline results show there is room to improve school readiness:

2 out of 5 kindergartners assessed enter school “ready to go”

Children who enter kindergarten “ready to go” are more likely to be reading at grade level in second and third grade, and more likely to succeed later on.

READY teams were formed in the four participating school districts, and each met regularly to develop an action plan addressing three goal areas: ECE/K-12 alignment, family engagement, and data-driven decision making.

Learn more about READY


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