Starting Strong believes School Readiness describes the experiences of children, families, schools, and communities that best promote student success in kindergarten. When communities, schools, and adults work together to support children’s development, all children begin kindergarten ready to succeed.
A ready community is one that identifies, nurtures, and supports families and children as its number one resource.
A ready school is one that welcomes all families and children and creates an environment that is safe and conducive to learning.
A ready family has adults who understand they are the most important people in the child’s life and take responsibility for the child’s school readiness through direct, frequent, and positive involvement and interest in the child.
A ready child is one who enters school healthy, eager to learn, and curious about others and the surrounding world.
Starting Strong is part of the National League of Cities – Early Learning Nation network. Alongside other participating communities, we’re learning to tackle tough problems, test new solutions, and accelerate progress toward ensuring that all young children and their families thrive.
Starting Strong’s school readiness work focuses on strategies that address the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children from birth to age 3, while increasing opportunities for families to help prepare their children for school and a lifetime of academic success.
Support learning environments that nurture and stimulate growth along all developmental domains to ensure children meet their developmental milestones
Provide information and opportunities for parents and families to support their child’s healthy development
Ensure families have access to basic needs, including food security and stable housing
In partnership with Portland Public Schools, Starting Strong supported the expansion of Kindergarten Jumpstart (KJS) programming to all four of the district’s high-poverty elementary schools. KJS is a summer program aimed at quickly building essential early literacy skills needed for kindergarten. KJS targets students who lack school readiness skills, including those who may not have attended PreK programming, who have shown a potential delay in school readiness in spring kindergarten screening, or who do not speak English.
Specifically, Starting Strong financed the early literacy training required for Kindergarten Jumpstart teachers. KJS early literacy training provides teachers with strategies to help naturally create more time for learning and focus on rigor. The goal is to harness the energy level that every small child brings and generate results.
Of the KJS students assessed pre- and post-program, 82% showed an increase in basic letter and book knowledge. Increasing the number of students enrolled in evidence-based, quality PreK experiences will result in an increase in the number of students who enter kindergarten ready to learn.
Starting Strong is the early age component of Portland ConnectED, a community-wide partnership that works to ensure the success of every child from cradle to career.