Early childhood community collaborations play an important role in supporting school readiness of their communities’ youngest residents. Communities across Illinois are leading groundbreaking initiatives for achieving universal child development screening for young children. Understanding children’s developmental progress creates opportunities for prevention and intervention in the critical “brain building” phase of a child’s life, when services are more effective and less costly.
What are developmental screenings?
Developmental screenings are snapshots of a child’s progress in the areas of communication, problem-solving, personal-social, and gross and fine motor skills. Early and regular screenings can help parents understand and celebrate their child’s developmental milestones. Screenings also provide an opportunity to identify concerns and connect to comprehensive services that can aid in a child’s healthy development. Once screenings are completed, results are communicated, further evaluation may be recommended, and necessary services are coordinated.
For more information on developmental screenings visit: Illinois Office of Early Childhood Education (http://www.illinois.gov/gov/OECD/Documents/Screening%20helpful%20resources.pdf)
Early childhood collaborations lead community-wide efforts to increase access and awareness of developmental screening tools
Developmental screening tools are an opportunity for early childhood collaborations to engage, educate and refer families to services. Collaborations are building and leveraging cross-sector partnerships in their communities to increase families’ access to developmental screenings. These collaborative efforts help families gain more knowledge about their child’s development and bring awareness to the need for advocating for the resources necessary to support their children’s school readiness.
The Consortium for Community Systems Development (CCSD), an initiative of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant, recently partnered with two of the eleven Innovation Zones to produce a webinar highlighting the work of their community-wide developmental screening initiatives – “Developmental Screening: Increasing Awareness, Access and Use of Early Intervention Services and Special Education.” Greater East-St. Louis and Williamson County Innovation Zones discussed their strategies and lessons learned in their efforts to enroll more high need children in high quality early learning and development programs. Check out the webinar recording to learn more about who the collaborations partnered with to launch this exciting initiative!
“Promising Practices In Developmental Screening”, a publication of the CCSD, is another resource that highlights three early childhood collaborations and their efforts to help children and families easily access developmental screenings. Early childhood collaborations from McHenry County, Oak Park and Stephenson County share an overview, challenges and lessons learned in their community-wide initiative.
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