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Reconsidering Readiness in Rhode Island: A New Look for A New Time Early Childhood: Collaborating for School Success February 9, 2007 Sharon Lynn Kagan,

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Presentation on theme: "Reconsidering Readiness in Rhode Island: A New Look for A New Time Early Childhood: Collaborating for School Success February 9, 2007 Sharon Lynn Kagan,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Reconsidering Readiness in Rhode Island: A New Look for A New Time Early Childhood: Collaborating for School Success February 9, 2007 Sharon Lynn Kagan, Ed.D. National Center for Children & Families Teachers College, Columbia University

2 Presentation Outline Part ITimes, They are a-Changing!! Part IIReadiness Past Part IIIReadiness Present Part IV Ready Children Part V Ready Schools Part VIReady Teachers Part VIIReady Classrooms Part VIII Ready Families and Communities Part IX Ready Early Childhood System

3 Part I Times, They are a-Changing!!

4 Times: They are a-Changing!! Early Childhood: The Old Image Part-day programs Kids play all day Little linkages with health, education, or social services Staff didnt need special training Nice, but not really necessary

5 Times: They are a-Changing!! More and More Diverse Programs Some ECE programs took place in child care, where services were full day, and usually not considered educational. Still others took place in Head Start Programs that offered comprehensive services for primarily low-income children. And still others took place in private, for-profit centers and family child care homes.

6 Times: They are a-Changing!! Early Childhood: The Old Image Result was a great deal of confusion about the Purposes, Places, and Possibilities of EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

7 Times: They are a-Changing!! New Support for Early Childhood ECE is now part of every major report on American education (e.g., Tough Choices or Tough Times). Early childhood is on the agenda of governors, policymakers, police chiefs, and parents. Pre-k programs and state investments in pre- k have expanded dramatically; as of 2004- 2005, 38 states invested a total of $2.8 billion in preschool education programs. Program efficacy has been codified in quality rating systems in 14 states and early learning standards in over 40 states.

8 Times: They are a-Changing!! With Support Comes Greater Demand For programs to show effectiveness and child outcomes For programs to prepare children for school For programs to link with schools and other community services For professionalized staff

9 Times: They are a-Changing!! And Demand is Now Far-Reaching Early childhood programs are supposed to: Reduce poverty Reduce teen pregnancy Reduce welfare dependency Meet childrens health needs Help children be better community citizens Educate parents Prepare parents for the workplace Increase parental literacy

10 Part II Readiness Past

11 Readiness Past The first time the idea of readiness was seriously discussed was in the late 1800s. In 1893, Pestalozzi described readiness as reading readiness and linked the construct to development. May and Campbell (1981) suggest that, despite these discussions, readiness was not given serious consideration until the 1920s.

12 Readiness Past In 1927, Margaret Holmes wrote the first article about readiness, entitled: Investigations of Reading Readiness of First Grade Entrants Around this time, the International Kindergarten Union named its first committee on reading readiness.

13 Readiness Past Two similar, but very different constructs gained momentum worldwide, and vied for attention: Readiness for learning Readiness for school

14 Readiness Past READINESS FOR LEARNING Advanced by child development and learning theorists (e.g., Gagne, Piaget, Bruner) Defined as the level of development at which an individual has the capacity to undertake the learning of specific material Usually the age at which the average group has developed the capacity

15 Readiness Past READINESS FOR SCHOOL Historically, equated with reading readiness, as we saw from the founding definitions Also manifest in curricular domains (arithmetic readiness, handwriting readiness) Much research on readiness for school Been equated with family size, absent fathers, desirability of childrens names and bioplasmic forces.

16 Readiness Past READINESS FOR SCHOOL Readiness for school believes in fixed standards of intellectual, physical, and social development sufficient to enable the child to fulfill school requirements and to assimilate the curriculum content.

17 Readiness Past Readiness to Learn All ages Readiness fostered Content is fluid and evolving Gate opener Readiness for School Young children Readiness expected Content is fixed and static Gate keeper

18 Readiness Past Led to very practical debates When should children start school? What is readiness, anyway? Who is responsible for getting kids ready? Is readiness really a viable construct? Led to much confusion in the late 80s- early 90s

19 Part III Readiness Present

20 Readiness Present Late 1990s, Presidents Clinton and Bush formed the National Education Goals Panel After some debate, decided that Goal 1 would be to have all children ready for school by the year 2000 Not at all likely to be achieved, but Very likely to inspire debate and work

21 Readiness Present National Education Goals Panel Established the first major national task force on readiness Established a Technical Work Group made up of scholars in the field as well as politicians Worked for three years REACHED A NEW CONSENSUS ON READINESS!!!!

22 National Education Goals Panel School Readiness = Ready Children Ready Programs and Schools Ready Communities + +

23 Contemporary Ideas Go Even Further Ready Children Ready Schools Ready Teachers Ready Classrooms Ready Families and Communities Ready Early Childhood System

24 Readiness Present It acknowledges that readiness to learn is different from readiness for school. It says that environment matters for young childrens development. It acknowledges that readiness is a condition of the child, the school, the teachers, the classroom, the family and community, and the ready ECE system.

25 Part IV Ready Children

26 Readiness of the Child Five Dimensions of Development 1.Physical Health, Well-Being, & Motor Development 2.Social Emotional Development 3.Approaches Toward Learning 4.Language and Literacy 5.Cognition and General Knowledge

27 Physical Health & Well-Being Daily Living Skills: personal care, hygiene, Nutrition: eating habits Physical Fitness: stamina, energy, strength, and flexibility Safety: safe practices; rules & regulations Motor Development Gross Motor Skills: walking, running, jumping, climbing Fine Motor Skills: cutting with scissors, fastening buttons Sensorimotor Skills: vision, hearing, touching, kinesthesis (e.g., kicking a ball rolling in the childs direction) Physical Health, Well-Being, & Motor Development Readiness of the Child

28 Social Development Relationships with Adults: forming and sustaining Relationships with Peers: cooperation Appreciating Diversity: respect similarities and differences Adaptive Social Behavior: participate in group empathy for others and natural world Emotional Development Self Concept: developing knowledge of abilities, characteristics, and preferences Self-efficacy: belief in self-abilities Self Control: following rules, impulse control Emotional Expressiveness: appropriately expressing feelings Social & Emotional Development Readiness of the Child

29 Approaches Toward Learning Curiosity & Interest in New Tasks and Challenges: approaching learning with inquisitiveness or passivity characterizes a childs style of learning Task Persistence & Attentiveness: enables children to develop and follow through on plans and tasks Reflection & Interpretation: includes the capacity to seek models, absorb information, and work through alternate possibilities Imagination & Invention: associated with the ability to form images of what is not actually present and to extend conventional thinking Initiative : associated with decision making, taking risks in learning Approaches Toward Learning Readiness of the Child

30 Language Vocabulary Grammar & Syntax Meaning & Comprehension Literacy Reading: phonological awareness; print awareness; functionality, enjoyment, and appreciation Writing: alphabet knowledge, writing conventions, functionality Communication Listening: to understand language Oral and Written Communication: to communicate effectively Social Conventions of Communication Language, Literacy & Communication Readiness of the Child

31 Logic & Reasoning Cause and effect Critical thinking Mathematical & Numerical Knowledge Numerical operations Measurement Social-Conventional Knowledge Science Social studies Knowledge of the Family, Community & Culture Characteristics of the family and family functions Community roles and responsibilities Creative Arts Expression Representation Appreciation and understanding Cognition & General Knowledge Readiness of the Child

32 Part V Ready Schools

33 Ready Schools 1.Smooth the transition between home and school. 2.Strive for continuity between early care and education programs and elementary schools. 3.Help children learn and make sense of their complex and exciting world. 4.Are committed to the success of every child. 5.Are committed to the success of every teacher and every adult who interacts with children during the school day. 6.Introduce or expand approaches that have been shown to raise achievement. 7.Are learning organizations that alter practices and programs if they do not benefit children. 8.Serve children in communities. 9.Take responsibility for results. 10.Have strong leadership.

34 Part VI Ready Teachers

35 Ready Teachers Must be: Diverse as the children they serve Well trained Compensated at levels that assure job stability and professional development without job stagnation Confident in uniform early learning standards Knowledgeable about certification, professional ethics, and well charted career paths Able to access high-quality education and training Entitled to scholarship, financial, and career supports Based in inspiring work environments that encourage communities of practice, reflection, mentorship, and professional growth

36 Part VII Ready Classrooms

37 Ready Classrooms What makes classrooms ready for children? We used to think the nature of teacher child interaction was the #1 quality ingredient. The research still supports that, but to make that interaction most potent, weve developed a new think.

38 New think is… Alignment of Standards + Curriculum + Assessment Leads to Quality Pedagogy and a Ready Classroom

39 What Do We Mean By Alignment? 1. Horizontal alignment: Synchronization among standards, assessments, and curricula within a given age level (e.g., Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten). 2. Vertical alignment: Synchronization among standards, assessments, and curricula between given age levels (e.g., Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten).

40 Background and Rationale Why alignment is crucial: Without such alignment, it is impossible to gauge; If that which we want young children to know and be able to do relates to what is being taught (the alignment of standards and curriculum). If that which is being assessed relates to either to what children should know (the standards) or what is being taught (the curriculum). Without such an analysis of alignment, assessments remain inaccurate (not to mention costly) indicators of often irrelevant information.

41 Standards Curriculum Assessment Greenpoint PAF CC PAF Morning Side HS CC CC Westville PAF***** DD ***** PAF Wood Hill PAF CC PAF Note: ***** denotes lack of alignment denotes alignment CTBFR = CT Blueprint for Readiness; DRA = Developmental Reading Assessment; DD = District Developed; F&P = Fountas & Pinell; PAF = Pre-kindergarten Assessment Framework; HS = Head Start Child Outcomes Framework; CC = Creative Curriculum; NA = Not Applicable. Alignment at Pre-Kindergarten

42 Standards Curriculum Assessment Greenpoint Marie Clay ***** F&P, D ***** Marie Clay/Math Morning Side CTBFR ***** DD ***** DRA Westville DD DD ***** DRA Wood Hill DD DD NA Note: ***** denotes lack of alignment denotes alignment CTBFR = CT Blueprint for Readiness; DRA = Developmental Reading Assessment; DD = District Developed; F&P = Fountas & Pinell; PAF = Pre-kindergarten Assessment Framework; HS = Head Start Child Outcomes Framework; CC = Creative Curriculum; NA = Not Applicable. Alignment at Kindergarten

43 Assessment Curriculum Standards Morningside

44 Stronger focus on developing the whole child (fostering cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth) in the pre-kindergarten documents than the kindergarten documents. Stronger focus on developing language and cognitive development and virtually no emphasis on physical and motor development in the kindergarten documents. There was virtually no vertical alignment of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs standards, curricula, or assessments. Results: Unready Classrooms

45 Part VIII Ready Families and Communities

46 Ready Families and Communities Families need the knowledge that the early years really matter. Families need the support to enable them to make the early years matter (e.g., family leave, family support and parenting education, health and mental health supports). Communities need to understand the importance of the early years. Families and communities need funding to support comprehensive optimal development.

47 Part IX Ready Early Childhood System

48 Early Childhood Education HS FPCC PK CC Programs Infrastructure FS/FL

49 Programs + Infrastructure = System HQ HS HQ FPCC HQ PK HQ CC Programs Infrastructure HQ FS/FL Source: Kagan, S. L., & Cohen, N. E. (1997). Not by chance: Creating an early care and education system. New Haven, CT: Yale University Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy.

50 Gears: Need to work in all areas to move the infrastructure Regulation Informed Families, Informed Public Standards, Assessment, and Accountability Personnel & Professional Development ECE/K-12 Linkages Financing Governance

51 What is an Early Childhood System? 8 – 1 = 0

52 Gear 1: Quality Programs What are quality programs? Provide rich and varied learning opportunities Are bathed in language Actively engage children Provide activities that address childrens individual differences (strengths and weaknesses) Are characterized by inquiry, reflection, and curiosity Produce productive outcomes for children And these are measured by regulation and enforcement, incentives for quality, and facilities and capital

53 Gear 1: Quality Programs

54 Quality Rating System Initiated by United Way of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Kids Count (with consulting help from Anne Mitchell and Erin Oldham) in November, 2005 Currently have draft standards and are still in design phase, working toward a pilot program projected for fall, 2007 Statewide implementation of the QRS in 2008 Licensing requirements Day care homes Group day homes Child day care centers Rhode Islands Quality Programs

55 Gear 2: Regulation In general, more stringent regulations yield higher quality of service, but regulations vary widely. Major problems are: large number of legal exemptions permitted limited number of licensing specialists poor enforcement strategies Regulations are a powerful but underutilized tool.

56 Gear 3: Workforce & Professional Development The quality of any institution is predicated on the quality of its staff. Yet, There are uneven requirements to teach young children across the states and within states. No single standards to teach (as in K-12) exists in ECE. The fields current hot debate is over the actual requirements (AA or BA) necessary to teach. Turnover of personnel is rampant. And these are measured by qualified ECE professionals, adequate compensation, and training system.

57 Gear 3: Workforce & Professional Development

58 Rhode Islands Workforce & Professional Development Disparate teaching requirements between RIDE Standards for Approval of Educational Programs for Very Young Children and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families Regulations for Licensure Proposed RI Quality Rating System aims to enhance access to formal education and training for all ECE teachers: RIDE and DCYF have begun discussions about how to coordinate their processes and standards. HOPE (Harbor of Opportunities for Professional Excellence), RIs Career Development System for Early Care and Education, has developed core competencies and career lattice levels. Professional development in the RI Early Learning Standards has been provided to more than 600 practitioners and administrators (147 college credits have been awarded) since 2002.

59 Low salaries: Average income for full-time, year-round child care provider: $20,210 But innovative benefits programs: Starting RIght Health Care Insurance Assistance Program and Child Care Provider RIte Care provide health insurance to many center-based and FCC caregivers Rhode Islands Workforce & Professional Development Source: NACCRRA and Options for Working Parents. (2006). 2006 Child care in the state of: Rhode Island. Retrieved January 26, 2007 from

60 Gear 4: Informed Families, Informed Public Major commitment to family engagement in Programs Decisions Governance Helps keep programs responsive to parental needs Could build an advocacy base for social change Problem is that families outgrow ECE and there is no broad constituency for public support – key benefit of universal preschool And these are measured by family education and support, family information and involvement, and public relations.

61 Gear 4: Informed Families, Informed Public

62 Successful Start Systems Initiative (coordinated by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and the Rhode Island Department of Health): Long term goal of creating sustained political and public will around early childhood programs. Recognizes parent education and family support as the first component of a successful start. Provides services that are individualized to meet child and family needs and build on family strengths. Supports all families, while still addressing the needs of children and families at high risk. Moves forward with program development based on parent focus groups conducted in multiple languages, and involves parents in the design, delivery, and evaluation of services. Informed Families, Informed Public in Rhode Island Source: Rhode Island KIDS COUNT & Rhode Island Department of Health. (2005). Successful start: Rhode Islands early childhood systems plan. Providence: Author.

63 Gear 5: Financing Long-term fiscal planning is almost non-existent. Revenue generation strategies are multiple, but not systematically planned. ECE is funded by Tax Strategies, Sin Taxes, Tax Credits, Lotteries, K-12 Funding. Financing schemes tend to focus on quantity, not quality. And these are measured by state funded programs, subsidy policies, CC tax provisions, family leave, and revenue generation.

64 Gear 5: Financing

65 Head Start allocations (2005): $21,956,386 ($6,970/child) CCDF State Expenditure (matching): $9,894,525 TANF (2004): $13,087,316 School district funding for at-risk and low-income children: Early Childhood Investment Fund Targeted School Aid But no formal state pre-kindergarten program Long-term goal of the Successful Start Systems Initiative: universally affordable, high-quality programming Rhode Island Child Care Financing Source: NCCIC. (n.d.) State profiles: Rhode Island: Demographic information. Retrieved January 25, 2007 from

66 Gear 6: Governance and Coordination Huge debate about who should govern ECE Seven different models of governance exist throughout the U.S. All are evolving, with changes being made to fine- tune the structures constantly From establishing State Department of ECE (MA & GA) To coordinating council with oversight for a single program Surging awakening to this issue And these are measured by kindergarten, teachers certificate, class size, and learning standards.

67 Gear 6: Governance and Coordination

68 The Rhode Island Childrens Cabinet Created in 1991 by state law Serves as forum for information exchange among state departments, private service agencies, and the public Clearly defined goals, e.g., all children will enter school ready to learn The Successful Start Systems Initiative aims to: Streamline and coordinate a high-quality early childhood system, including parent education and family support, early care and education, medical homes, and a strong focus on the social-emotional development of all children. Provide comprehensive services, including parenting and family support programs and childrens health care The RI Executive Office of Health and Human Services and Successful Start recently began work on implementing key, cross-departmental systems issues outlined in the Successful Start Plan Governance in Rhode Island Source: NACCRRA and Options for Working Parents. (2006). 2006 Child care in the state of: Rhode Island. Retrieved January 26, 2007 from

69 Gear 7: Standards, Assessment, & Accountability Most confused domain Confusion about standards Early learning standards, program standards, etc. Confusion about program assessment vs. child assessment Program assessment common in ECE; perceived as sufficient Confusion about different kinds and purposes of child assessment Most controversial domain Associated with high-stakes testing High-stakes testing particularly detrimental to young children Perceived as antithetical to good ECE pedagogy Requires mind shift and fear decontamination

70 Gear 7: Standards, Assessment, & Accountability

71 Early learning standards adopted in 2003: Approaches to learning Social and emotional development Language development Literacy Mathematics Science Creativity Physical health and development Successful Start Systems Initiative: Targets outcomes for children, families, and systems and tracks progress over time. Outlines specific quality standards and performance measures for the states new early childhood system. Rhode Islands Standards, Assessment, & Accountability Source: NACCRRA and Options for Working Parents. (2006). 2006 Child care in the state of: Rhode Island. Retrieved January 26, 2007 from

72 Gear 8: ECE/K-12 Linkages For decades, research has indicated that it is critical for preschools to be linked to schools in order to promote continuity for children. Transition activities have focused on: Preschool visiting days to kindergarten for children and parents Exchange of records from pre-K to K Joint training for pre-K and K teachers Visits by K teachers to pre-K Limited link in looking at how standards, curriculum, and assessments are aligned Sources: Kagan, S. L., & Neuman, M. J. (1998). Three decades of transition research: What does it tell us? Elementary School Journal, 98(4), 365-380.; Love, J., Logue, M. E., Trudeau, J., Thayer, K. (1992). Transitions to kindergarten in American schools: Final report of the National Transition Study. Portsmouth, NH: US Department of Education.

73 Gear 8: ECE/K-12 Linkages

74 State early learning standards are aligned with elementary grade academic standards. Licensing requirements cover centers and homes that serve both pre-kindergarten and kindergarten aged young children. BA requirement for lead teachers in center- based setting goes part of the way toward teacher certification parity. ECE/K-12 Linkages in Rhode Island Source: NCCIC. (n.d.) State profiles: Rhode Island: Demographic information. Retrieved January 25, 2007 from Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. (2005). Rhode Island Childrens Cabinet. Retrieved January 25, 2007 from

75 Reaching Readiness Ready Children Ready Schools Ready Teachers Ready Families and Communities Ready Classrooms Ready Early Childhood System Happy, healthy Rhode Island kids!

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