During the TCCC Board of Directors’ Annual Meeting on June 15, 2016, the following update on the Kindergarten Readiness Network was provided by Chris Kerrigan, President & CEO of the Trident United Way. (TUW serves as Convening Partner for the KRN.)
Noteworthy Milestones for the Kindergarten Readiness Network
from December 2015 to May 2016
- In order to validate the two tentative catalytic projects (1) expansion of the SC Vouchers program and (2) the development of a Resource Hub, Trident United Way contracted with a professional qualitative researcher to facilitate community engagement with community members the Kindergarten Readiness Network intends to serve.
- TUW partnered with the First Steps Office of Charleston and Berkeley Counties, MAIA Moms, and Nurse Family Partnership to engage low-income mothers and child care directors to affirm or reject the tenants of the previously proposed catalytic projects.
- We summarized the focus group findings into a report and presented them at the May Kindergarten Readiness Network Convening. The focus group takeaways included:
- A desire from Child Care Director to receive professional development training and knowledge about staff retention best practices;
- A desire to communicate more effectively with parents about child rearing practices;
- A desire to receive more child development and local health related Kindergarten Readiness information in a digital and hard copy format;
- Understanding the systemic issues preventing parents from remaining enrolled in the SC Voucher program;
- Parents want to receive Kindergarten Readiness resources and guidance from trusted allies ; and
- Parents want customized personalized outreach and they want a hard copy and a physical location to receive early education and child development resources.
KR Survey with Child Care Directors
- In partnership with the First Steps Office of Charleston County, we conducted an online survey with nearly two dozen child care directors to supplement the focus group outreach and gain user information about the viability of our catalytic projects.
- The survey also affirmed the need to have information about professional development for child care directors and access to digital Kindergarten Readiness resources.
Kindergarten Readiness Network
Kindergarten Readiness Network Convening
- TUW hosted a Kindergarten Readiness Convening in May 2016. The network voted and confirmed the creation of a Kindergarten Readiness Resource Hub catalytic project. This will come in the form of a physical location and an online component. It will provide parents, families, community organizations, and practitioners with access to information that is related to Kindergarten Readiness. Over the next few months, the network will work to develop an implementation and assessment plan. The network has already started to collect information and translate them into user friendly documents that would assist community members with referral services. Additionally, the Prosperity Center has been designated as potential location to host the Resource Hub.
Guiding Team and Kindergarten Readiness Network
- We have added two new active members to the Guiding Team: (1) Dr. Herman Knopf, Research Director at the Child Development Center at USC and (2) Professor Kelley White from the College of Charleston. The partnership with USC has been extremely beneficial. With a grant they received from DSS, they identify and map the existing childcare landscape in the Tricounty. Additionally, access to this set of granular data will help our systems level approach and increase the capacity of network partners.
- The network has grown by 50 members since last December and network members feel more engaged and energized about the work than they felt in the fall based on survey implemented at the last Kindergarten Readiness Convening.
Post and Courier Op-Ed
- John Read and Chris Kerrigan co-wrote a Kindergarten Readiness op-ed for the Post and Courier at the end of December.