A Community Conversation about Early Literacy New Fairfield, Connecticut Meeting House Hill School Cafetorium April 27, 2012 5:30-8:30 PM
From birth to age 5, key experiences at home and in preschool and kindergarten can increase the likelihood that children will be successful in learning to read and write once they enter elementary school. --2001 UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities.
The brain develops to 90% of its capacity in the first five years of life. --2004, CT Commission on Children
Schools, families, communities and businesses all contribute to student success, and the best results come when all partners work together.” • Five-year Comprehensive Plan for Education 2006-2011, Connecticut State Board of Education
The Formative Years By the end of Kindergarten all students are expected to master: • 55 rigorous English Language Arts standards including reading, writing, speaking/listening, language and foundational skills. • 22 rigorous mathematics standards including counting and cardinality, operations and algebraic thinking, number & operations in base ten, measurement & data, and geometry.
Important Ideas • Skills for learning include reading, writing, talking, listening, understanding signs and numbers and how to use technology-based tools • Family literacy happens in everyday activities • The community has a stake in family literacy
Question for this Evening’s Community Conversation: How does early literacy affect our future success as a community-at-large?
We want to know your thoughts and ideas about: • What role each of us plays in fostering early literacy • What community organizations, libraries and schools do to promote and support early literacy • What we can do as individuals
We want to discuss early literacy because - • Children must come to kindergarten ready to learn • Increasing demands are being placed on young children • Parents are a child’s first teacher • Strengthening early literacy and improving basic skills helps families succeed • Strong families make a strong community
What should be our approach to fostering early literacy? • Promote awareness and support for early literacy as a community value. • Provide support for families who face the most challenges. • Encourage families to take responsibility for accessing existing services.
A.Promote Awareness and Support for Early Literacy as a High-Priority Community Value • Easy access to a variety of good reading materials. • Formal and informal public places where people can read. • Literacy programs should build on family cultural traditions and strengths. • “Two-generation” programs for children and adults. A
B. Provide support for those families who face the most challenges • Offer specific services for these families. • Expand and enhance proven programs. • Use media to publicize issues and services. • The community should work to ensure that services are sufficient to meet the needs. B
C. Encourage Families to Fully Use Existing Resources and Services • Services already exist to help families in our community. • Adults understand their own needs and know what is best for their children. • Parents can and should take responsibility for their family’s well-being. • Bureaucratic systems impose on families and providers. C
A – B – C: Making choices…. • Which strategy/strategies would work best in New Fairfield? • Which strategy/strategies do you think would most benefit our children and families?
What results do we want from tonight’s Conversation? • Become aware of our viewpoints and priorities to support early literacy. • Identify community leaders/programs/organizations. • Develop an action plan.
Thank you for the gift of your time, valued thoughts, and concern for our youngest citizens. • “Children are the living message we send to a future we will never see.”