Early Childhood Care and Education Community Network Launched (04-28-2014)
The Early Childhood Care and Education Community Network was created as a result of Act 3 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session. This act unifies the state’s fragmented system of early childhood education.
The framework for implementing Act 3, approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) in December 2012, proposes an expansion of access to high quality, publicly funded early childhood programs to families across Louisiana. The Act set up a unified Early Childhood System of Local Networks, which will be fully implemented in the 2015-2016 School Year.
The St. Tammany Parish Public School System was one of 17 districts awarded the grant to implement this special pilot program designed to increase the number of children entering kindergarten ready to learn.
The Community Network Pilot program involves school districts, child care providers, Head Start programs and other stakeholders within the community working together to provide high-quality early childhood services. This work will allow policymakers to learn from the stakeholders’ efforts and results prior to full implementation of policies in fall 2015.
The goal of the St. Tammany Early Childhood Community Network is to provide what each child needs, beginning at birth, so an increased number of children will enter Kindergarten with the persistence and curiosity to develop the necessary language and communication skills, motor skills, social-emotional skills, and early literacy and numeracy readiness skills.
The strategies targeted by the framework feature initiatives to unify expectations, support teachers and providers, measure and recognize progress, fund high quality providers, and provide clear information and high quality choices. “Learning begins at birth,” said Elizabeth Laine, elementary supervisor for the School System. “The network collaborates to invest in our young children by increasing the quality of care and education provided.”
According to Johnnie Alford, the Community Network Project Leader, “Each provider, Public School, Head Start, and Child Care Center is committed to training staff to provide a high-quality learning environment for young children.” The network provides the opportunity for communities to work together and ensure an increased number of children have access to high-quality care and education.
All providers use common assessment systems to ensure everyone in the network is working to meet goals that support early learning development. Using the Teaching Strategies Gold educators and families will work hand in hand to support children’s development and learning from age 6 weeks to 5 years.
Early childhood professionals participate in professional learning to increase the effectiveness of the early childhood settings provided to young children in the area.