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Educational Service Unit #13

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School Readiness Plan

Head Start / Early Head Start

Birth to Five School Readiness Plan

 

Our Philosophy of School Readiness:

We are committed that every child receives a positive and quality experience in the program.  The bonds an infant establishes during the first years of life provide the basis for all learning.  With the development of trusting relationships and nurturing experiences during the earliest moments and years of a child’s life, the child has support for developmental competence throughout their school years which sets the stage for future success.  Providing quality care and extended growth for each child is our mission.  Security of a child’s attachment to primary caregivers provides a base for the child’s social-emotional development, which establishes the foundation so all other learning can happen.  Children are provided positive early experiences which will set the stage for future development and success in school.  We are committed to implement challenging, fun and exciting activities for each child so that they are prepared for school.  Developmentally appropriate activities are implemented into the daily routine helping children to become successful.  The program respects and is sensitive to each child’s language and culture and provides individual assistance so that he/she will succeed.  Each dual language learner is given additional support in keeping their first language as their primary language and also learning English to help them become successful lifelong learners.

 

Implementation of the School Readiness Plan Includes:

The framework for effective everyday practice has a strong foundation for providing trusting respectful relationships with families and inviting environments and engaging interactions.  The environments are clean, safe, well-equipped, child friendly, and nurturing.  Classrooms have positive child-adult interactions which add to a good climate for the classroom and nurturing experiences.  Positive adult-adult interactions and good role modeling help make the children feel comfortable and provide a better learning atmosphere for each child.  On-going training is implemented throughout the year.  Observations and feedback is given to each classroom team for continued growth in each of these areas.

 

Building on Effective Practice includes Curriculums, Ongoing Assessments and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework:

The program uses research based curriculums; Parents As Teachers for Home Base and Creative Curriculum for Center Base. Teaching Strategies Gold is the ongoing assessment.  These curriculums are aligned and implemented to the Early Learning Outcomes Framework which supports each child’s growth.   The five essential domains for all children are:

Language and Literacy

 

  • Language Development
  • Literacy Knowledge and Skills

 

Approaches to Learning

  • Approaches to Learning
  • Creative Arts Expression

 

Social and Emotional Development

 

Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development

 

Cognition

  • Social Studies Knowledge and Skills
  • Science Knowledge and Skills
  • Mathematics Knowledge and Skills
  • Logic and Reasoning

 

An additional domain for children who are dual language learners is:

  • English Language Development

 

English Language Development

The five domains apply to all children plus the one domain, English Language Development, applies only to children who are dual language learners.  These children speak a language other than English at home.  The program provides a translator, when needed, to help the children.  Materials are translated to help each family feel supported and comfortable in their child’s education.  Labeling, having materials that are common in the classrooms and at home, and speaking the language helps each child and family feel more accepted, at ease and successful in the environment.  Continued training on cultural sensitivity helps staff to understand the importance of being focused on the individual child and family       

 

Developing School Readiness Goals:

Educational Service Unit 13 Head Start began the School Readiness and Assessment process upon receipt of the grant and it is reviewed frequently.  All levels of staff were involved in writing the child outcomes in each of the domain areas along with measurable indicators that determine a child’s growth for that specific area.  Additions are made as the early learning outcomes framework is revised.  The data is aggregated and used as an on-going self-assessment tool providing documentation for the individual developmental needs of children, classroom/group needs and program needs.

 

Family Engagement

When the program began the School Readiness and Assessment process, we included parents to be part of the committee, along with teaching staff and management team members.  The policy council representatives are active participants in the School Readiness plan.  The program believes parents are vital in all aspects of their children’s lives. They are encouraged to give their input into the process to help their child be successful in school.  During each home visit or parent-teacher conference, parents set school readiness goals for their children.  These goals are addressed each week in lesson plans and reviewed regularly with parents.  

 

Measurement Tools for The Child Outcomes Include:

  • On-going Assessment Tool
  • Children’s Portfolio

The program uses Teaching Strategies Gold assessment tool which The Nebraska Department of Education requires for the partnerships. The teaching staff receives training to gather information through observations, discussions and activities. There are several child outcome checks per year.  Checks are done three times for Head Start, four times for Early Head Start and full year Head Start classrooms. Preschool portfolios include a self-portrait, writing sample, and a letter/shape/number/counting/color checklist.  All parents are a great resource in knowing what their child can do.  Infant Toddler parents are asked for their input on the survey, e.g. responding, observing, communicating, comforting, exploring, problem solving, meeting needs, and movement.  This gives the program two sources for program improvement.  Teaching Strategies GOLD data is aggregated and charts are developed for each classroom’s progress following each outcomes check.  The first check will give a baseline of the information gathered.    The education supervisors/manager takes the results and reviews the information with the center teams.  Together the GOLD Checkpoint Review Form is completed including the team’s strengths and modifiable issues using the collected outcome information. Early Head Start and Head Start Teachers will conduct two Home Visits and two Parent Teacher Conferences each school year.  Information is provided directly to the parents/guardians about the progress their child is making.  At these times the teachers do a follow-up on school readiness goals set by parents at the previous parent/teacher interaction. If the child had accomplished their goal, a new goal is made.   

 

Individualization documentation:

Our school readiness plan includes written individualization documentation on each child.  This is part of the teaching staff’s responsibilities during their planning sessions.  The infant toddler classrooms provide each child with their own lesson plan in which staff plan weekly experiences based on each child’s development.  Parents have daily input into the lesson plan and their goals are listed.  Teaching staff plan experiences according to their observations and the parent’s input.  Lesson plans are turned in on a weekly basis, reviewed and feedback is provided.  Having highly individualized teaching and learning builds trusting respectful relationships with families.

In preschool, the Individualization Record Sheet documents the school readiness goals set by parents and the specific times the goals are addressed each week.  Staff will individualize for at least one parent school readiness goal for each child each week. These activities are pre-planned although individualization occurs throughout the daily routine as opportunities occur.  These are turned into the education supervisor weekly along with lesson plans.  After each home visit/parent teacher conference cycle, the Child School Readiness Goal Tracking Sheet is completed by the teacher and submitted to the education supervisor and education manager.  This form tracks the progress of each child in reaching the school readiness goals set by their parents.  Having highly individualized teaching and learning is the top level of the framework for effective practice. The education supervisors/manager, which are reliable, use the CLASS observation tool twice a year.  This provides support and growth for quality care and learning for the children.  The observation is reviewed with the classroom team.  Strengths and improvement plans are recognized and a plan is made. 

 

Home to School

Children need to feel and be successful at school and at home.  Our program continues to work on in-kind involving parents/guardians in fun activities to help their child learn and grow.  Each infant toddler parent is provided with approximately 30 activities to choose from each week to help their child learn and grow. Each preschool family receives a monthly calendar with activities they can do with their child which are aligned with the framework.  Activities are linked to the goals the parents set on home visits and parent teacher conferences or with the classroom curriculum.  Continued support and education helps the parents feel their success being a parent.  After completing the individualized activities, they document that they have participated.  Also a lending library is available to each child.  The children may check out books that they are interested in to take home to share with their family.  Research shows that daily reading helps children become successful and productive adults.  Family engagement helps each child and the program.  Working together provides a positive experience for every child and family.  The staff turns all completed forms into the main office. 

 

Head Start to Public School

The program believes that it is very important to work with the different school districts so that the families and staff know what the expectations are when the child enters school.  This will help each child have a smooth and successful transition into kindergarten.  Head Start sends out a survey, using the Early Learning Outcomes Framework, to administrators, kindergarten teachers and special education teachers, and policy council members asking for their input in preparing each child for kindergarten.   The questions asked are to be rated as not important, important and critical according to each educator’s knowledge and opinion.  After this information is collected, the data is given to the education staff to implement in the individualization planning for each child.  

 

Program planning:

The management team is responsible for planning for the next year.  The child assessments results are taken to management meetings, yearly program planning, policy council and governing board.  The information is reviewed and individual plans are made for the following year for improvement.  This is also used for self-assessment.  The program continues to try and improve so that each child will be successful in school.

 

Conclusion:

We have aligned all the outcomes information with the Early Learning Outcomes Framework, Curriculum, Assessment and the Nebraska Early Learning Standards.  We believe that communication, self-regulation, and problem solving, developed in the context of trusting relationships and nurturing experiences during the earliest years of a child’s life, support the developmental competence of children throughout their school years to be successful lifelong learners.  We are dedicated to implementing positive family engagement strengthening families as primary nurturers of their children, and enhancing parent-child relationships.  We believe that we have done our best to prepare the children for success in school.  We are dedicated to implement positive family engagement and positive growth and development in each child in our program.