NICHQ, StriveTogether Announce Communities for Unprecedented Kindergarten Readiness Initiative
StriveTogether Prenatal-Three Impact and Improvement Network Aims to Increase School Readiness and Reduce Disparities in Children Ages Birth to 3
BOSTON — The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and child education outcomes leader StriveTogether today announced six communities will participate in their joint initiative. Called the StriveTogether Prenatal to Age 3 Impact and Improvement Network, the goal is to ensure kindergarten readiness for children by focusing on healthy beginnings, family support, quality care and excellent learning environments from infancy to age 3.
“Improving the health and development of infants and toddlers has long-term benefits for children, families and our society. It also sets the stage for the way kids learn throughout their lives,” said Jill Sells, MD, FAAP, clinical director of Early Childhood Initiatives at NICHQ. “We are thrilled to partner with StriveTogether and these six communities, whose focus on this age group makes them pioneers in piloting innovative strategies for kindergarten readiness.”
The communities are Albuquerque, New Mexico (Mission: Graduate); Memphis, Tennessee (Seeding Success); Norwalk, Connecticut (Norwalk Acts); Salt Lake City, Utah (United Way of Salt Lake); Spartanburg County, South Carolina (Spartanburg Academic Movement); and Tucson, Arizona (United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona).
The initiative will utilize quality improvement methodology to help communities test and implement system changes that lead to improved child development outcomes. The goal is to build the capacity of local providers to track and use data to identify specific strategies for improving early childhood outcomes.
“The first few years of a child’s life are critical in determining future success,” StriveTogether CEO and President Jennifer Blatz said. “It’s our obligation as Americans to provide every child with opportunity through a quality education, but each year an estimated 3 million children in the U.S. are at risk of being woefully unprepared for kindergarten. By partnering with NICHQ, we will help to drive policies and investments in core services proven to improve educational, economic, health and social outcomes for children and families.”
NICHQ is dedicated to improving children’s health by creating the pathways and partnerships to make dramatic and sustainable changes to the systems responsible for children’s health outcomes. Working with multidisciplinary teams—including families—NICHQ determines the best strategies for achieving goals and works passionately for continuous improvement. The organization works hand-in-glove with partners to address population health issues with a focus on achieving health equity.
NICHQ and StriveTogether are making history as part of an unprecedented nation-wide early childhood development initiative. This critical work is being funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. Other institutions joining NICHQ and StriveTogether in this effort are The National Association of Counties, National League of Cities and the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The Sorenson Impact Center, housed at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business is working with PCI and the partner organizations to manage the initiative.
“These communities will be at the forefront of developing public policy and practice that embraces the new knowledge we have about brain science. We now know that waiting to invest in our children— our nation’s future— until kindergarten or even Pre-K is too late,” said Rachel Schumacher, director of PCI. “By bringing communities together around shared goals and outcome measures, we can move the needle to set our nation’s babies and toddlers up for success.”
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