Prenatal to 3rd Grade

Workgroup

Mission: Launching Children and Families on a Path to Success

Vision: All Norwalk children will be engaged in experiences that cultivate their language and literacy development from prenatal to third grade.

Strategy: The Prenatal to 3rd Grade Workgroup is a data-driven framework of four specific workgroups: Language and Literacy, Home Visiting, Early Childhood Health and Development, and Pre-K to Kindergarten Transition. Members of each work group are all Norwalk ACTS members who volunteer their time, talent and expertise in specific areas.

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WHAT WE DO:

The Language and Literacy work group addresses the literacy needs of all Norwalk’s children – Prenatal to 3rd grade – in order to impact two outcomes:

– Children ready to learn when entering kindergarten

– Meeting the goal level in 3rd grade reading.

The workgroup consists of over 20 members including Norwalk Public Schools teachers, Early Childhood Education Providers, experts in the Social/Emotional field, professionals in the prenatal space and community members.

One goal of the Language and Literacy workgroup focuses on the PELI Assessment Project (Preschool Early Learning Indicators). PELI is a preschool literacy assessment for children 3 to 5 years old that measures alphabet knowledge, vocabulary and oral language, phonemic awareness, and listening comprehension.

This assessment allows preschool teachers to identify children who are experiencing difficulties acquiring these skills with the intent to provide instructional support. PELI is also a 80 percent predictor for 3rd grade reading outcomes. This goal includes increasing the intentionality of the use of PELI data to determine strategies, interventions and progress monitoring in Pre-K classroom and engage all of Norwalk’s Pre-K providers in the PELI project.

Pre-K Education Providers currently using PELI: Carousel; Children’s Playhouse; Children’s Playhouse Too; ELLI @ Fox Run; ELLI @ Naramake; ELLI @ Tracey; ELLI Lab School; Growing Seeds @ Trinity; Head Start at Nathaniel Ely; L’li Critters Preschool;; Norwalk Community College Early Childhood; Odyssey at Nathaniel Ely; PreK Brookside; Room to Grow; Room to Grow Too; The Marvin Children’s Center; Growing Seeds Ben Franklin; Head Start at Ben Franklin.

 

In 2014, the Preschool Early Learning Initiative (PELI) was introduced to the School Readiness and Head Start sites and used to assess literacy in our 3’s and 4’s programs. Since then, we’ve been able to track the progress of a cohort of children into the First grade. The graph below shows the progress of a group of children who assessed in the red zone in the fall of their 4’s program.

Home Visiting workgroup’s vision: Norwalk will have a Community Home Visiting System where children who receive services between birth and age five are entering Kindergarten Ready to Learn. Home visiting programs provide critical support to families with young children and focus on positive parenting skills, facilitate connections to supportive services, and promote child wellness and development.

Goals of the home visiting workgroup include:

– Ensure families have access to services

– Strengthen and streamline the referral systems

– Establish core competencies for home visitors

– Establish universal training for all Norwalk home visitors

– Develop shared outcomes

– Provide data which is the foundation upon which the home visiting system is built

Early Childhood Health and Development has two specific and distinct areas of focus, health and development, for all Norwalk Children. The vision for health is to foster a culture of health and provide access to resources and advocate for policies that sustain the health of the children and families of Norwalk.

Specific goals for this workgroup include children eat more fruits and vegetables every day; children get more minutes of physical activity and children and families have access to a medical and dental home and attend recommended visits.

This workgroup partners with a larger Norwalk body of work, which includes the Healthy For Life Project, Norwalk Public Schools Wellness Committee, the Campbell’s Healthy Communities Program, and Early Childhood Health and Development. The Healthy for Life project has expanded and promoted the NorWALKer community walking maps, created the Move More in Schools Toolkit, and spread the word about farmers markets in the Norwalk community. The Norwalk Public Schools Wellness Committee worked with the Board of Education and Norwalk Public Schools officials to develop and pass an updated wellness policy for the school district in February 2017.

The vision of development is to create a community-wide system where children receive regular developmental screenings (ASQ) and tiered interventions between birth and age five so that they enter kindergarten developmentally ready to learn.

Pre-K to Kindergarten Transition. The vision of the Pre-K to K Transition workgroup is that Norwalk will have a bridged community between Pre-K and K teachers in which there is an agreed-upon definition of what it means for children to be ready to learn when they enter Kindergarten. In May of 2017 the workgroup convened over 60 early childhood members including pre-K providers, Norwalk Public Schools Kindergarten teachers, early childhood experts, community members who defined the goals of the workgroup as follows:

– Identify and align approaches for measuring and supporting children’s social/emotional learning development and readiness

– Engage parents in the transition

– Increase communication across Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers

A follow up convening is currently being planned with a goal of finalizing the selection of indicators (domains) that provide Norwalk’s early childhood community with the ability to define “entering kindergarten ready to learn”

 

The importance of meeting the goal level in 3rd grade reading cannot be overstated. The work of the Prenatal to 3rd Grade Initiative culminates in improving the outcomes for our student readers. When we began our work, Connecticut was using the CMT as its standardized reading and math testing tool. In 2015-16 the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing became the standard. The graph below shows the results from the past 3 years of testing on 3rd graders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more, contact Sandy Bria at sbria@norwalkacts.org