Early childhood development is more critical now than ever before.
Over the last decade, our collaborative efforts in health, education, and public awareness have yielded significant success, increasing the level of readiness from 43% in 2009 to 70% in 2019.Our focus on children in the age group of birth-to-five is rooted in research by the Nobel Prize winning economist, James Heckman. Heckman and his team show that every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children delivers a 13% annual return on investment. We believe that by advancing early childhood development, we are investing in the future of our community. While Ready for School has made strides, we are keenly aware that kindergarten readiness is a complex social issue. It transcends beyond health and education programs. It is structural and it is place specific. Where we are born and raised can determine our life outcomes.
How then can we create more equal opportunities to harness the potential of every child?
To this end, Ready for School is developing KIDfrastructure – a dashboard to evaluate how our community’s systems, services, and amenities are helping our youngest members to thrive in the home, school, and neighborhood environments. Focusing on Ottawa County and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD), the dashboard is the first of its kind to connect the dots
between early childhood health, education, and place.
The five goals of KIDfrastructure are to:
1. Develop a holistic, shared system of assessment identifying gaps and targeted areas for improvement,
2. Establish a benchmark (2021) for subsequent tracking of community progress in Ottawa County and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District,
3. Foster an action plan through a robust consensus-building process on concerns, success, goals, and progress amongst parents, key stakeholders, and decision-makers
4. Create a user-friendly dashboard for community outreach and education, and
5. Build a data-driven foundation for sustained investment and impact for our youngest citizens.
TOP 15+ KIDFRASTRUCTURE INDICATORS
1. % of Children Facing Food Insecurity*
2. Primary Care Provider (Ratio of Provider to Population)
3. Mental Health Care Provider OR Mental Health Screening*
4. % of Children (Ages 0- 18) with Health Insurance
5. No. of Drinking Water Providers with Current Violations
6. No. of Days in a Year with Good Outdoor Air Quality
7. Quality Early Childhood Programs as % of Licensed Child Care Providers by Types*
8. % of Population with Convenient Access to Parks & Recreation
9. Avg No. of Early Childhood Programs Offered by District Libraries*
10. % of Households with Children Who Feel Safe in Their Neighborhoods
11. % of Adults working in youth-serving organizations trained in the "Darkness to Light Stewards of Children" Sexual Abuse Prevention Program
12. Social Capital Index (Percentile) / Measurement of Social Connectivity
13. % of Children Ages 0-17 with Internet Access at Home
14. % of Families with Children that are ALICE Households / Households in Poverty
15. K-3 Students Who Moved Within the School Year (Student Mobility)*
16. Bike Score*