The “transforming power” to reach children in front of the kindergarten.

Mothers who leave their children in one of the primary schools of public preparation, whether in the Bronx, New York or the Lower East Side of Manhattan, often carry a much smaller child in a carriage or carriage.

It is a scene that Ian Rowe, executive director of the network of five-fold, same-sex, five-person schools, often contemplates what their schools and the K-12 system could generally do to better avoid some of the delays in school , Development and others. In preschool and kindergarten children in schools.

“There are a large number of very young single mothers raising very young children,” Rowe said last week at a roundtable organized by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington. “I’ve been thinking about how to get to this little boy who’s still three years away from our Girls Prep or Boys Prep School.”

He then discovered the Parent-Child-Home Program (PCHP), a 50-year home-visit program that employs trained “early learning specialists” to conduct 30-minute home visits to low-income families for two-year-olds, ages 18 and up. Each week, families receive a textbook or toy, and specialists focus on modeling the interaction with the child.

A year ago, the charter network launched a pilot program of 30 families, delivering the program to the youngest siblings of current public-preparation students. Rowe said the partnership is being expanded.

“It’s a transformative force to reach families before their children enter a classroom,” said Sarah Walzer, CEO of PCHP, during the event. While Public Prep will not know for some years how far this particular group of children will benefit from visits, Walzer provided data on the short- and long-term outcomes of the program. This implies that the likelihood that they are ready for kindergarten is 50% higher, the probability that they will graduate from high school by 30% and the likelihood that they will be identified for an individualized education program is 50% lower.

“If we can dispel these negative experiences by providing these positive experiences for the child and the father before school starts, we will significantly reduce the number of children referred to special education, which represents a great savings for the districts. for the school and for society, “said Walzer.

“Before the children arrive at kindergarten”

While public readiness focuses on the program specifically for student siblings, the partnership is an example of how K-12 schools can play a more important role in providing home-based services to families with small children. To do that, I noticed Katharine Stevens, an AEI scholar who directs the think tank’s early childhood program.

He added that it was “amazing” how often the All Students Act Success uses the words “from birth” to describe the potential extent of early school efforts in schools or districts, while the term this was not part of Acts No Child Left Behind.

“We know that good schools are crucial to children’s success, but we also know that education really means human development, not school,” Stevens said. “And an important scientific foundation now clearly suggests that the essential basis for educational opportunities is not created until five or four years, not even three, but from birth.”

The AEI event also follows a recent report showing that 300,000 families received home visits in 2017, but millions more could benefit from these early intervention models.

The most advanced data tools can also help school and district leaders identify which neighborhoods they should target when working with a home visit organization. In California, for example, the First 5 Association, a group of members of the state’s top 58 state agencies, and the Children’s Data Network at the University of Southern California have created the Index of California’s Strong Start.

The index focuses on indicators, eg. For example, that he was born of parents with at least a high school diploma and belongs to a family that has access to medical care. The Index provides district-level census profiles to help providers better align their services.

“The strength of the Strong Start data is that many of the problems that occur in the K-12 environment are also evident in the birth of the children,” said Moira Kenney, Executive Director of the First 5 Association, E-Mail. Mail. “This provides an opportunity to discuss how school districts can work together with organizations and institutions that provide services before children reach kindergarten.”

Most states and a growing number of local governments have been developing and expanding public pre-school programs over the last two decades, and some have made their programs widely available regardless of family income.

Chester E. Finn Jr., education policy chair and emeritus president of the Conservative Learning Institute of Thomas B. Fordham, who also spoke at the event, said there was much “political momentum” behind the K system. -12. However, he argued that public prep’s partnership with PCHP was a better approach as it was “as close to the cradle as possible” and addressed the “most disadvantaged children”.

“The push for [universal pre-K] is at war with the greatest needs we’ve talked about,” he said.

Another obstacle to such efforts is that educators are often “ambivalent” when working with low-income parents, said Ralph Smith, executive director of the Read-a-Level campaign, which is now active in 300 communities.

“These kids will not go to the program by themselves,” Smith said, adding that it was important to “involve parents and recognize them as co-producers for good results for their children.”

Rowe said the pilot program, rather than “taking more responsibility,” is an attempt to find a strong partner who can support the child’s learning and parents’ skills.

Finally, Walzer pointed out that the fluctuation among department heads is another challenge. Executives may not be keen to provide Title I funding for a program for children who will not even be in kindergarten when moving to another district, he said.

However, Thomas Gentzel, Executive Director and General Manager of the National Association of School Boards, said there had been “a big change in how principals think about these issues.” I think we’re seeing more and more interest in school districts trying to work with them. “early learning in general.”