Change is underway in Guilford County! Participants in February’s Early Childhood Summit joined 100-Day Challenge Teams with each team addressing one part of the Ready for School, Ready for Life framework. The goal? To address system barriers that keep Guilford County children from achieving success in school.
Teams are using the ABLe Change Framework, a systems change approach that helps communities more effectively address significant social issues. They’ve used the ABLe Change action learning process along the way — DEFINE the problem, DESIGN powerful strategies, DO the work through effective implementation, and LEARN along the way.
- Six teams are working together to define systems issues. Each team is addressing a key area — early literacy, parenting education, developmental screenings, social-emotional health of early childhood professionals, financial literacy, and access to high-quality child care. They’re collecting data to better understand the current situation, looking at national best practices, assessing the need versus what’s currently available in Guilford County, and identifying opportunities to make system improvements. Teams will share what they’ve learned about assets and gaps that will inform our next steps in providing supports and opportunities to families with young children in each area.
- Others are starting to design strategies. After defining the problem using available local data, teams have started designing strategies in three areas: encouraging more breast-feeding friendly practices, improving policies/practices related to transition from preschool to kindergarten, and building a culture that values and encourages kindergarten readiness. Teams will share those strategies and make recommendations about implementation.
- Teams in the “do” phase are testing the strategies they’ve designed. One is piloting a program to improve communication between preschool and kindergarten classrooms to make the transition to kindergarten easier for children, teachers, and parents. Another group — led by parents — is launching the Family Action Learning Team whose members will be decision-makers and consultants to the Ready/Ready work moving forward. A third is piloting an Electronic Referral System designed to make it easier for families to get connected with needed services — and for service providers to make sure those connections happen.
- Each team is learning along the way. These lessons will be shared at the 100-Day Challenge Celebration on May 24 along with recommendations for moving the work forward.
This has been a big commitment for Challenge Team members, and they’re doing great work together. Stay tuned for more about the small wins teams have logged and the lessons learned.