What Can I Do?

Monday, May 30th, 2011 | Author: Eric

How to Take Action

Recommendations for the Early Childhood Education Community

Recommendations for Schools

Recommendations for Parents

Recommendations for Policy Makers

Recommendations for the Early Childhood Education Community

At the state level:

  • Urge professional development organizations (such as NAEYC) to offer collaborative professional development for early education and kindergarten teachers on demonstrated best practices for successful school transitions, including supports for children whose native language is not English, children with disabilities, and children with challenging behaviors.
  • Urge elected officials to ensure that all agencies providing programs and services for children collaborate on policy decisions and coordinate their services.
  • Request that state agencies funding early education and K-3 provide support for professional development regarding Ready Schools implementation and improvement.

At the county/school district level:

  • Have a voice in school transition programs in your county and advocate for the needs of young children. Urge schools to offer transition activities for students and their families that occur at times when families can attend, including evenings, weekends, and summer.
  • Encourage your school district to work with the early childhood education community in meaningful ways to identify issues related to school transitions and to share resources in building Ready Schools.
  • Ask school board candidates about their plans to address the issue of school transitions and student success.
  • ?Plan joint professional development opportunities between early care and education, PreK, and K-3 teachers and staff.

At the community level:

  • Help families understand what a Ready School is and what they should look for as their children enter kindergarten.
  • Use existing resources to help prepare families for kindergarten transition the year before a child enters kindergarten.
  • Work closely with your local schools to develop effective transition strategies for 4 year olds. Serve as a resource for your local school community.
  • Participate in adult learning communities with elementary school teachers and other early education professionals when possible.
  • Look for opportunities to involve local community members and organizations in your early education programs.

 

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Recommendations for Schools

At the state level:

  • Urge professional organizations to examine the costs of poor transitions in terms of child outcomes and impact on teaching staff.
  • Advocate for common measurement and reporting tools for all schools to use statewide through grade 3. Develop a communications strategy to report progress and use results to inform policy decisions.
  • Offer professional development and conference sessions that feature best practices for successful transitions and Ready School principles.

At the county/school district level:

  • Encourage your school district to develop effective alternatives to kindergarten retention, such as intervention plans that identify strategies for supporting children who need extra help in the first quarter of the school year.
  • Ask school board candidates about their plans to address the issue of school transitions and support for the Ready Schools Initiative in assuring student success.
  •  Explore ideas for making schools more family-friendly.

At the community level:

  • Assess your elementary school in terms of its readiness for young children from diverse backgrounds and make becoming a Ready School a goal of all school staff, families, and the community.
  • Offer diverse transition activities for students and their families that occur at times when families can attend, including evenings, weekends, and summer.
  • Offer professional development on demonstrated best practices and curricula for the population of children served by the school, including supports for children whose native language is not English, children with disabilities, and children with challenging behaviors.
  • Encourage your school and school district to involve community stakeholders (early childhood education, schools, families, business, faith community) in meaningful ways to identify community issues related to school transitions and to share resources in building Ready Schools.
  • Hire kindergarten teachers with early childhood education experience, B-K degrees, PreK-3 specialization, or other early childhood expertise.
  • Provide ample time for teachers to meet regularly, both within and across grades, to implement aligned learning experiences for children.

 

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Recommendations for Parents

At the state level:

  • Write to your legislators and urge them to advocate for school readiness as a goal for all North Carolina elementary schools.
  • Advocate for additional resources to support strong transition programs and other activities to help elementary schools meet the readiness criteria.
  • Urge elected officials to support statewide early care and education policies, initiatives, and programs.

At the county/school district level:

  • Urge your school district to adopt Ready Schools as a focus for all early childhood education and elementary school leadership.
  • Advocate for supports and incentives to schools for committing time and resources to meaningful transition and ready school-related activities.
  • Encourage your school district to offer several types of kindergarten welcome activities for children and their families that occur at times when families can attend, such as evenings, weekends, and summer.
  • Question potential school board candidates about their views on school readiness and what they plan to do to ensure successful school transitions and student success in elementary school.

At the community level:

  • Stay active in your child’s school life. Studies indicate that parental involvement declines once children begin kindergarten. Staying informed and involved shows your child—and your child’s school—that academics are important.
  • Become involved in your school and county Parent Teacher Association or Parent Teacher Organization.
  • Volunteer to serve on your child’s School Improvement Plan or Ready School team and encourage school personnel to actively participate in better school transitions.

  

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Recommendations for Policy Makers

At the state level:

  • Endorse the state Ready School definition.
  • Encourage all elementary schools to use a Ready Schools assessment tool, assess their level of readiness, and add improvements to readiness to the School Improvement Plan.
  • Develop common measurement and reporting tools for all elementary schools to use statewide through grade 3. Develop a communications strategy to report progress and use results to inform policy decisions.
  • Encourage all Schools of Education in North Carolina to integrate early child development into K-6 teacher and administrator programs.
  • Encourage all elementary school principals and K-3 teachers to obtain training in early child development.
  • Develop in-service professional development programs for teachers and administrators that emphasize Ready Schools principles.

At the county/school district level:

  • Adopt Ready Schools as a focus of all early childhood education and elementary school leaders.
  • Provide supports and incentives to elementary schools for committing time and resources to meaningful transition and professional development activities.
  • Examine effective alternatives to kindergarten retention, such as intervention plans, that identify ways to support children who need extra help in the first quarter of the school year.
  • Offer diverse transition activities for students and their families that occur outside standard classroom time, including evenings, weekends, and summer.

At the community level:

  • Involve community stakeholders (early childhood education, schools, families, business, faith community) in meaningful ways to work together in identifying community issues and sharing resources in building Ready Schools.
  • Develop meaningful strategies to assure that parents become involved and stay involved in their child’s school experience.

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