Building the foundation for early childhood success
Jonah, a Weld County child care provider, saw the State of Colorado Emerging and Expanding Child Care Grant program as an opportunity to expand his business and better serve his community.
For their life success, it is vital that children are reading well by the beginning of 4th Grade. This will more likely occur when children’s basic needs are met, when their child care providers know how to deliver high quality care and when, if present, a child’s special needs are addressed quickly and successfully. Parents that have sufficient resources and support are better able to remain in the workforce.
- Early childhood is the most important period of a person’s development.
- Until the end of 3rd Grade students learn to read—after this, they read to learn.
- Only 39% of Weld County children are reading at grade level by the beginning of 4th Grade; in other words, 6 in 10 aren’t reading to learn by age 8.
- United Way manages Weld County’s Early Childhood Council, the community collaboration where early childhood challenges are solved.
In Weld County, during the 2019-2020 school year only 39% of 4th Grade students were meeting expectations in English Language Arts. Since students are learning to read until the end of 3rd Grade and then reading to learn after that, this means that nearly 2 in 3 Weld County children weren’t reading well enough to take full advantage of the rest of their formal education.
This situation is difficult for each student and is costly for our community. As evidence, 70% of all incarcerated adults cannot read at a 4th Grade level, meaning they lack the reading skills to navigate many everyday tasks or hold down anything but lower paying jobs. This lack of reading ability keeps people at-risk all of their lives. It also costs the larger community money to have our neighbors relying on social services.
“We have a number of children who still need an awful lot of help with their reading skills. And we, as the adults, have the obligation to figure that out. You can make an investment through United Way that will make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children.”Deirdre Pilch, Superintendent, Greeley-Evans School District 6
By 2024, the Reading Great by 8 community-wide goal is to increase the percentage of Weld County children reading to learn by the beginning of 4th Grade from 39% to 43%.
The Reading Great by 8 shared effort includes over 35 organizations. Investments are made in a number of programs with county-wide impact that lead to more students reading at grade level by the beginning of 4th Grade. Activities include (with those offered by United Way staff underlined in gold):
supporting parents and caregivers through instruction and basic needs like diapers
recruiting new child care providers and coaching them in opening their businesses
helping child care providers improve the quality of the child care that they provide
identifying and addressing early childhood developmental delays
protecting children that have been physically or sexually abused
working with students in grades 1-3 to catch up in their reading skills
Plus, United Way manages Weld County’s Early Childhood Council, which is the primary place for collaboration in order to increase early childhood outcomes in Weld County.
Early Learning & Development
- Weld County’s Early Childhood Council
- Collective Impact Fund
- Child Care Provider Professional Development
- Child Care Provider Recruitment
- Child Care Resource and Referral
- Colorado Shines Quality Improvement Project
- Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado program
- Early Childhood Education Jobs Board
- Expanding Quality in Infant & Toddler Care
- PASO Institute
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