Goal: Each child enters kindergarten with the literacy, social, and emotional strengths needed for successful learning.
Kindergarten readiness is closely linked to future academic achievement and life success, though indicators for this outcome area often differ across school districts and states. During these critical formative years, a child begins to explore and discover the wider world around him or her, learning language, understanding that letters form words and relating words to the things he or she sees. Children are developing fundamental skills and responses in early childhood that build strong foundations for reading, counting, and social interactions. Letter and number recognition, verbal skills and language complexity, empathy, and cooperation are examples of readiness skills that can prepare a child to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.In addition to the predictive value of kindergarten readiness, the Mayo Clinic notes that, “Kindergarten marks the start of a child’s formal education. A child’s first school experiences can influence the way he or she relates to others for the rest of life.”
Generation Next Strategies
Pathways to Quality (P2Q): Licensed family child care (LFCC) is the setting with the biggest identifiable gap in quality. Generation Next convened partners to create an effective intervention to support culturally and linguistically diverse LFCC providers, addressing quality improvement, program stability, family support and suspension reduction.
ParentPowered Texting: Recognizing that parents are the first and most important teacher for children, Generation Next and Think Small launched an effort to get them real-time, developmentally-appropriate information to promote their child’s success. Parents receive simple, regular and actionable text messages that support them in promoting their child’s development.
Screening at 3: Generation Next and Greater Twin Cities United Way work with expert partners from a wide range of settings to increase efficiency and remove barriers to improve the 3-year-old early childhood screening system. Activities include training community partners to promote and support screening, expanding effective approaches and improving policy and practices related to screening. In addition to our work with Minneapolis and Saint Paul, we partner with surrounding districts through the Assuring Better Child Health & Development (ABCD) project.
Generation Next Accomplishments
• The percentage of LFCC providers in Minneapolis and Saint Paul with 3-and 4-star Parent Aware quality ratings rose from 9% (at the start of P2Q) to 16% by January 2018.
• As of August 2017, a total of 99 early childhood education providers received supports from P2Q.
• LFCC providers who received quality supports showed greater improvement in Parent Aware ratings than those who did not; 16% of programs receiving quality supports showed an improvement in their rating compared to 3% of programs that did not receive supports.
• LFCC providers who received business supports stayed in business at higher rates than those who did not: 100% of programs receiving business supports stayed in business compared to 93% of programs that did not receive supports.
• More than 5,500 parents and caregivers have signed up for the ParentPowered texting service.
• In 2016, 41% of three-year-olds in Minneapolis and Saint Paul were screened, up from 33% in 2015.
• As of February 2018, the ABCD project has exceeded all of its goals for MPS, Richfield, Bloomington; 7,999 3 to 5 year-olds have been screened, 2,968 of them at age 3.