The Every Child Thrives effort is striving to turn the curve upward in the percentage of children on track with developmental skills needed to be ready for Kindergarten.
Root causes identified for children not being developmentally ready include:
- Parents experience impairments in social, emotional, and executive functioning skills
- Lack of awareness of brain development science and tools for early brain building
- Families experience barriers in accessing needed services and resources
- The community does not provide a universal screening at multiple touchpoints in a child’s life
- The policy environment does not provide the resources to support child care center operators to accommodate more children or improve quality
In order to turn the curve upward, data was needed to understand the developmental readiness of all 4-year-olds in Dodge and Jefferson counties. To gather this data, in 2018 the Every Child Thrives effort began engaging partners to deploy universal screenings using the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) screening tool. We continue to grow the number of children being screened each year using this tool.
- 2017-18 - 289 screenings
- 2018-19 - 794 screenings
- 2019-20 - 987 screenings
While the percentage of developmentally ready children shows a decrease since 2018, as previously stated, we have increased the number of screenings each year as we strive to reach the entire population. We also recognize that once screened, systems need to be in place to provide accessible supports for those who are not developmentally on target. This will require coordinated efforts among partners.
In addition to screenings, as a proactive strategy we are engaging early care and education providers in implementation of the Pyramid Model, an evidence-based social and emotional learning framework, as well as TalkReadPlay programming that encourages healthy parent/caregiver-child interactions. Continuation of this work, and expanding screenings and interventions to include additional partners in key sectors like healthcare, are priorities in order to turn the Kindergarten Readiness curve upward.