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School Readiness Toolkit
by Charles Bruner with Amy Pettine, Sandra Ciske, Tom Kingsley, Kathy Pettit, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Ewing and Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2007 44 pp.

This Resource Guide and Toolkit is based upon the work of NNIP's local partners in collecting and using neighborhood-level information about young children, their families, and the services they receive in order to spur action. The State Early Childhood Policy Technical Assistance Network (SECPTAN), funded by the Ford, Kauffman, and Packard Foundations, has contributed to the development and plublication of this Guide and Toolkit.

Village Building and School Readiness

Village Building and School Readiness: Closing Opportunity Gaps in a Diverse Society
by Charles Bruner with Michelle Stover Wright, Syed Noor Tirmizi, and the School Readiness, Culture, and Language Working Group of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2007, 93 pp.

This resource brief is a compilation of articles providing the rationale for placing a major emphasis upon investing in poor, immigrant, and minority neighborhoods and incorporating community-building strategies into early childhood programs and services. Separate chapters of Village Building provide descriptions of exemplary programs and offer recommendations for building an early childhood workforce that reflects the race, culture, and language backgrounds of those living in those neighborhoods. Charles Bruner, Director of the Child and Family Policy Center, is the lead author, with one chapter adapted from California Tomorrow's report, Getting Ready for Quality. The report also includes commentaries from Lynson Moore Beaulieu, Hedy Nai-Lin Chang, Robin Jarrett, Audrey Jordan, G. Thomas Kingsley, Jane Knitzer, Edward Schor, Lisbeth Schorr, Ken Seeley, Ralph Smith, and Yoland Trevino.

Beyond Parallel Play

Beyond Parallel Play: Emerging State and Community Planning Roles in Building Early Learning Systems
by Julia Coffman, Michelle Stover Wright and Charles Bruner, 2006, 80 pp.

This resources brief examines the respective roles of state and community governance structures in building early learning systems. It includes case studies of six states where concerted efforts have been made to establish both state and community governance structures to work together to build those early learning systems - Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Vermont. Julia Coffman, Michelle Stover Wright, and Charles Bruner co-authored Beyond Parallel Play, which also includes a survey instrument for states and communities to assess their work in building such systems.

7 Things

Seven Things Policy Makers Need to Know about School Readiness
Revised and Expanded Toolkit
by Charles Bruner, with Sheri Floyd and Abby Copeman, 2005, 40 pp.

This toolkit provides easy-to-use materials that can be used to explain the importance of school readiness to legislators and other policy makers. Included are a background introduction, a set of fact sheets that can be duplicated and distributed, and speakers' notes to accompany a Power Point presentation. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to adapt the materials in the toolkit for their own use. Citation of the source is appreciated.

The individual Seven Things Briefing Papers can be downloaded and customized with your organization's contact information for distribution at meetings, conferences, and presentations, as well as local and state lobbying efforts.

  1. Learning Begins at Birth
    Research has shown that nurturing in the earliest years are critical to a child's emotional and social, as well as intellectual development.
  2. Nature (as well as Nurture) Matters
    Both nature and nurture are involved in what children are able to attain. Children¹s environments need to be stimulating, as well as safe and stable, for their minds to grow and develop.
  3. School Readiness Is More Than What Children Know (It Is Multidimensional)
    Based on solid child development and early education research, the National Education Goals Panel developed a broad definition of a child¹s readiness for school that includes five dimensions: physical well-being and motor development; social and emotional development; language development; approaches to learning; and cognition and general knowledge.
  4. School "Unreadiness" Is Expensive
    An extensive research base has established cause-and-effect relationships between failures to meet young children¹s essential needs (competent and confident parenting; health and nutrition; guidance and instruction; and constant, stable, appropriate supervision) and future problems and costs to society.
  5. Parents Work
    The simple fact is that most parents now work outside the home, even when their children are very young. Parents need support raising their children.
  6. Quality Matters
    There is no magic bullet‹no single program or intervention‹that can ensure school readiness, but quality programs addressing young children¹s needs in a holistic fashion can make major differences.
  7. Investments Pay Off
    Return-on-investment literature is drawing new allies to early childhood. Increasingly, business leaders and economists are advocating for additional public investment in the early years because of the high economic returns to society.
Many Happy Returns Many Happy Returns: Three Economic Models that Make the Case for School Readiness
by Charles Bruner, 2004, 24 pp.

There has been increasingly recognition of the potential economic value of investments made in the early learning years. Many Happy Returns provides a concise summary of two types of economic modeling that have been used to show these economic returns: (1) returns through improved child development and reduced social costs and increased productivity, and (2) returns from the economic activity provided by the child caring industry itself. It describes these returns and summarizes the findings from seminal studies in each of these modeling areas. Many Happy Returns then presents a third potential return, related to increasing the skills and compensation of the early learning workforce. This potential return has not yet been much explored, but may prove to be particularly important in its community-building impact in poor neighborhoods. Many Happy Returns indicates that these three potential returns all should be examined in making the case for public investments in early learning.

Up and Running Up and Running: A Compendium of Multi-State Early Childhood Initiatives
by Sheri Floyd and CFPC staff, 2004, 28 pp.

 Currently, every state in the country has at least one nationally supported initiative designed to improve the well-being of the nation¹s youngest children. Up and Running provides brief descriptions and contact information for twenty-seven currently operating and four completed early childhood initiatives. These are grouped into: (1) comprehensive school readiness initiatives, (2) early care and education initiatives, (3) child health and physical well-being initiatives, (4) family well-being and self-sufficiency initiatives, (5) multi-state program replication efforts, and (6) completed initiatives. All have resources available to inform practitioners and policy makers. The compendium also provides a state-by-state overview chart or "cross-walk."

Building an Early Learning System: The ABC's of Planning and Governance Structures
by Charles Bruner with Michelle Stover Wright, Barbara Gebhard, and Susan Hibbard, 2004, 64 pp.

States are developing a variety of planning and governance structures to help build early learning systems that can ensure school readiness. Building an Early Learning System, jointly published by the State Early Childhood Policy Technical Assistance Network and the Build Initiative, defines an early learning system and shares important "rules of thumb" for creating the planning and governance structures to build it, which are: (1) form follows function, (2) follow the money, (3) building is done in stages, (4) governance requires consent of the governed, (5) think globally and act locally, and (6) there is no magic structure that substitutes for leadership. The appendix provides descriptions of and contact information for over fifty currently operating state planning and governance structures focusing on early childhood and school readiness.

On the Path to School Readiness: Key Questions to Consider Before Establishing Universal Pre-Kindergarten
by Ann Segal and Charles Bruner, 2004, 16 pp.

States leaders are showing interest in establishing universal pre-kindergarten programs. Their interest is well founded: Research shows that high-quality pre-kindergarten experiences benefit three- and four-year olds, especially those who are low-income or otherwise disadvantaged. And the public believes in universal pre-kindergarten and is ready to invest in school readiness. To channel that interest into planning and implementation, this publication presents—in question-and-answer format—key issues that policy makers and advocates need to consider in designing and promoting universal pre-kindergarten initiatives.

Beyond the Usual Suspects: Developing New Allies to Invest in School Readiness
by Charles Bruner, 2004, 24 pp.

Thanks to recent polling, we know a great deal about the general public’s views on early childhood. But what about teachers, health care professionals, business leaders, and others who are key to making school readiness a priority? This publication helps advocates understand why these groups think school readiness is important and how best to approach them when building coalitions. The first section provides a brief overview of the importance of coalitions and interest groups in enacting meaningful public policies. The second section discusses specific groups of allies who should and can be enlisted as champions for early childhood, and suggests how to go about enlisting them. The third section describes organizations that can be sources of champions for school readiness.

Measuring Children's School Readiness: Options for Developing State Baselines and Benchmarks

This document outlines the current thinking and work in the field on developing baselines and benchmarks for measuring a child's school readiness and options for states in developing such systems.

School Readiness Policy and Budgeting: Template for Collecting State Baseline Information

The following outline is designed to assist states in developing the baseline information they need to assess where they are in meeting the school readiness needs of young children. The outline is organized into six subject areas, based upon policy and program responses to meeting the first four universal child needs.

Child Welfare and School Readiness - Making the Link for Vulnerable Children

This resource brief is designed to strengthen the connections between child welfare and other early childhood services in state and national efforts to promote and enhance optimal child development. Part One of this resource brief serves as a primer for child welfare staff - administrators, supervisors, and front-line workers - and state and local policymakers and advocates with an interest in vulnerable children. Part Two of the resource brief describes roles that the child welfare system can play in better addressing the educational and developmental needs of young children in their system.

Financing School Readiness Strategies: An Annotated Bibliography

This annotated bibliography describes some of the work in this field and is arranged by category. The first section deals with specific programmatic areas and financing resources; the second with more general financing issues and resources.

Seven Things Legislators (and Other Policy Makers) Need to Know About School Readiness

This resource packet was developed by the State Early Childhood Policy Technical Assistance Network (SECPTAN) to provide easy-to-use materials to explain the importance of school readiness of legislators and other policy makers.

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to adapt the resource packet materials in any way that makes sense to them. A CD is available from SECPTAN which provides all the information in the packet. The CD template may be manipulated to suit the needs of the user. SECPTAN has not copyrighted this information, but would request acknowledgement when this information is used.

Health Care and School Readiness: The Health Community's Role in Supporting Child Development - New Approaches and Model Legislation

With the continued policy focus in many states upon school readiness there is an opportunity to focus attention on the health community's role in child development and school readiness -- and what policies and supports states might provide to help health practitioners fulfill this role. This resource brief is a compilation of several different documents that provide an introduction to this topic and suggest possible policy actions, as well as highlight promising practices.

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