Below are resources for early childhood professionals and those serving the early childhood community.

Milestone Tracker  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a free app that allows parents to track child development. The app includes milestone checklists, tips and activities, advice on when to act early to speak with a healthcare professional and a personalized milestone summary. More about the app, including a link to download, on the CDC website.

ZERO to THREE released a report examining public perceptions of child development. Specifically, this research looks at messages and policies regarding emotional development of young children, and how these messages resonate with a national survey of voters. Key findings, a full list of which can be found on the ZERO TO THREE website, includes a result of nine out of ten voters believing brain development is a crucial topic and receiving majority support.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)  The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Head Start Association (NHSA) recently released a publication entitled “New Early Childhood Coordination Requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): A Toolkit for State and Local Educational Agencies, Head Start Programs, and the Early Childhood Field.”  The toolkit will provide state and local educational stakeholders with the appropriate tools to successfully meet the statute’s new requirements and support young children in their schooling.

Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs  The RAND Corporation published Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs, a report that synthesizes the research on early childhood program evaluations.

Illinois Action for Children’s Annual Public Policy Conference  Join Illinois Action for Children’s Public Policy and Advocacy team for the annual Spring Into Action Conference on April 9-10, 2018This year’s keynote speaker is Julie Vogtman, Director of Job Quality and Senior Counsel with the National Women’s Law Center. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in timely policy-oriented workshops, networking, and visits to the state capitol.

A powerful convergence – Community schools and early childhood education  Communities around the country are converging on a new approach to raising achievement for low-income children. This approach draws on two reform movements: (1) full-service community schools that provide wraparound health and social services to children and families, and (2) Prenatal through Grade 3 initiatives to improve quality, alignment, and coordination across early childhood and early elementary education. Examples in Cincinnati, Omaha, and Multnomah County demonstrate how communities can develop effective, results-oriented partnerships among elementary schools, community-based preschools, and other early childhood organizations.

Fact Sheet: Pathway Schools Initiative This fact-sheet provides an overview of the Pathway Schools Initiative. The initiative worked with five local district and a team of evaluators to create a Pre-K to 3rd grade that begins with high-quality, full-day early learning experiences and then aligns and integrates curriculum, instruction, and assessment from PreK-3rd grade to ensure that early learning gains are sustained and strengthened. Additionally, teachers are given data about student literacy development and provided coaching and support to help them use that data and improve instructional practice. The goal of the initiative is to dramatically increase the percentage of successful 3rd grade readers and to encourage evidence-based policies and practices that ensure their continued achievement. (McKnight Foundation)

Early-Childhood Program Linked to College Success  Inner-city children who participated in an intensive childhood education program in Chicago from preschool to third grade were more likely to get a college degree than their peers who did not, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health.

Seeking Feedback on School Quality/Student Success Indicators  Stakeholder groups shared their recommendations during the State Board meeting in January for how the state should measure school quality and student success in the new balanced accountability system. ISBE is requesting feedback on the recommendations provided for the P-2, Elementary-Middle Grade, and the College and Career Readiness indicators. Please submit feedback to no later than February 16.

Study: Gains From OK’s Pre-K Last Through Middle School  Eighth graders who attended Oklahoma’s universal pre-K program as 4-year-olds had higher math scores, were more likely to enroll in honors classes, and were less likely to repeat a grade than those who didn’t attend, according to new research from Georgetown University. (Education Dive)

A Multicomponent, Preschool to Third Grade Preventive Intervention and Educational Attainment at 35 Years of Age This study shows that participating in an intensive early childhood education program from preschool to third grade is linked to higher educational attainment in mid-life. The study tracked the progress of more than 1,500 children from low-income neighborhoods in Chicago, from the time they entered preschool in 1983 and 1984 in Child-Parent Centers (CPC) until roughly 30 years later. The children were part of the Chicago Longitudinal Study, one of the longest-running follow-ups of early childhood intervention. (JAMA Pediatrics)