Delaware Readiness Teams celebrate impact on kindergarten readiness
More than 100 representatives of the 21 Delaware Readiness Teams from across the state gathered in Dover today to celebrate family, school, business and community engagement in promoting children's success in early childhood and beyond. The Readiness Teams are a partnership between the Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning and private funders and supporters — including the United Way of Delaware, the Rodel Foundation of Delaware, PNC Foundation, and Nemours — that promote grassroots collaboration to support young children’s healthy development.
Secretary of Education Steven Godowsky recognized the dedication and hard work of educators, students, parents and community partners whose collaboration helped the teams make an impact on children’s readiness for school and life.
“This is the kind of progress only achieved through dedicated efforts by many thoughtful early learning educators and school community supporters,” Godowsky said. “It takes the partnership of families, teachers, school and district leaders and community members to build the foundation that will support children’s intellectual and social-emotional learning. We have the opportunity to learn from these models of collaboration.”
Delaware Readiness Teams bring together families, early childhood programs, educators, and community and business leaders to build strong links connecting birth to third grade. Teams include the members and representatives of the faith community, fire and police departments, state agencies including the Division of Public Health, health promotion and service organizations, libraries, parent teacher organizations and associations, and more.
The teams’ work supports professional development among early learning providers and elementary schools and strengthens families and communities through activities including: holding parent resource fairs, partnering with libraries and the Summer Food Service Program on bookmobiles, co-hosting kindergarten academies for incoming kindergarten students with districts, building school-community gardens, and shared professional development of early learning providers and elementary school teachers. They also work to increase on-time kindergarten registration and boost early learning provider participation in Delaware Stars.
Ten of the teams recently collaborated to win grants from Prevent Child Abuse of Delaware totaling $90,000 to promote family outreach, expand professional development for providers, host kindergarten academies and provide bedding, bags and books for homeless children. Teams have received awards from the USDA, published children’s books, created resource kits for families at libraries, and created teaching toolkits in areas such as fine motor development.
“Delaware Readiness Teams make a difference in local communities by focusing on the ‘Readiness Equation,’ which means, ready families + ready schools, + ready early learning providers + ready communities = ready children. Readiness Team volunteers are going above and beyond to ensure their community’s children have the opportunity for a great start in school and life,” said Madeleine Bayard, Vice President of Policy and Practice for the Rodel Foundation and chair of the Delaware Readiness Team Advisory Committee.
To find out more about local teams and to join a team in your community, visit www.greatstartsdelaware.com/readiness.html.
Find photos here.