Making sure children have the opportunity to reach their potential starts long before they get to school. The experiences they have in their first five years set the stage for their future success. Screenings are an easy way for parents to check if their child's development is on track."
Building Our Future means starting from the bottom to form a strong base. If we do it right from the start, there will be less to fix later when it is much more complicated.”
For more data and analysis, visit: https://www.buildingourfuturekc.org/smart-beginnings1.html
From birth to 5 years old, children are developing and growing faster than at any other point in their lives. It is why in these years, when children are learning to interact with the people and world around them, it is so important to foster a nurturing environment for them to grow in. A child's interactions in their first few years of life lay the brain architecture for how they will learn, engage, respond, and manage later in life. Research from Economist James Heckman has shown that investment in high quality early education has at least four big benefits:
BRIGHT BY TEXT LAUNCH IN KENOSHA COUNTY
Bright by Text is a national program that sends texts to families about developmental milestones and community resources, launched statewide by Wisconsin Public Television, Building Our Future is supporting the local launch and integration of Bright by Text into existing partner processes in order to connect more parents to community resources via text. This program is available to anyone. To sign up, just text the word "Badger" to 274-448.
EARLY LEARNING NATION COHORT
At the end of 2019, a team from this Building Our Future Network was accepted into the Early Learning Nation Cohort, a national learning cohort led by StriveTogether and the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP). This team will lead the community through a self-assessment process focused on the four Building Blocks, defined by CSSP and the National League of Cities, that make up an Early Learning Community:
The team, in partnership with the Smart Beginnings Network, will develop an action plan to move Kenosha County closer to putting its commitment to early childhood into action.
INCREASE IN ASQ-3 SCREENS AND AWARENESS
The Network set a goal of increasing the number of reported ASQ-3 screens completed in Kenosha County by 75% over the total from 2017. Through this work, 2018 led to an increase of 94% over last year. Anecdotal evidence points to an increase in parental awareness of the screener and developmental milestones, as well.
BIRTH TO 3 REFERRAL INCREASE
The Birth to 3 program in Kenosha County, delivered in partnership with KAC, provides federally mandated early-intervention services to support families of children with developmental delays. From 2013 to 2017, Birth to 3 experienced steady referrals to the program. In 2018 with the laser focus of Smart Beginnings on developmental screenings, Birth to 3 saw a 23% increase in referrals over 2017 referrals, and served an additional 100 families this year. When families receive needed services earlier, the likelihood that children will return to being developmentally on track with their peers increases.
DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONE AWARENESS
By aligning work around the ASQ-3 developmental screener, piloting childcare centers shared that the tool served as a much-needed framework for discussions with parents about child development. After being trained in using the ASQ-3, childcare teachers had more knowledge about appropriate child development and were able to use the tool as a catalyst to advance those conversations with parents.