Early Learning System
Early Learning Matters
We equip children and families with tools to develop social, cognitive, and executive function skills. In doing so, we can ensure that every child has a strong foundation for learning, leading to success in school and life.
HEA Approach to Early Learning
HEA assists community partners in developing Networks and Pilot Programs to achieve our county’s vision for a strong foundation for every child. Each organization plays a critical role in the lives of children and families in our community.
High-Quality Early Learning Systems
- Gr8t Beginnings
- Parent Engagement Action Network
High-Quality Early Learning System
- Tools of the Mind Preschools and Kindergarten
- Self-Regulation Strategies for Preschool
- PAX Good Behavior Game
Early Learning Challenges
In the past, our community has attempted to address educational attainment in reactive ways when it is too late. We now have the power to prevent issues early with lower costs and more significant returns.
Early Learning Solution
Early investment in young children’s development has a significant return for individual children, families, and the community. The biggest returns come from programs and policies that ensure young children are in environments that promote positive social-emotional development and are rich in opportunities for brain stimulation and growth.
“We have the tools to help our families and schools to be more nurturing. Rather than addressing each psychological, behavioral, or health problem as though it is unrelated to every other problem, we need to get all the organizations working on human well-being to band together to help make all of our families and schools more nurturing.”
– Anthony Biglan Ph.D., The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives and Our World”
Indicators of Success
The goal of the Early Learning is to develop a system of high-quality opportunities for social, emotional, and cognitive development for all children from birth through 8 years old. As one of the key indicators of success, our community is working to increase the number of children who are enrolled in high-quality preschool programs and ensure that these opportunities are accessible to the children who most need them.
Community Priorities for
Foundations for Learning
- Each child is ready for success in kindergarten by age 5.
- Each child has a parent or caregiver engaged in their learning journey.
- All children have the skills needed for success in high school (and beyond) by the end of 8th grade.
Research Tools for Foundations for Learning
HEA has developed a county assessment tool to understand children’s social-emotional and physical development skills at kindergarten entry. Local kindergarten teachers helped develop this tool by identifying skills that are most important for school success. HEA combines data from this assessment with the school existing assessments to inform early childhood efforts.
Elkhart County is working towards a countywide implementation of the Gallup Poll for 5th, 8th, and 11th-grade students. The goal is to understand students’ attitudes about school and their sense of belonging. Both factors have a known effect on achievement.
HEA tracks 3rd-grade reading and 5th-grade math and English language arts assessments. These tools point to areas of need and provide important indicators of future success, including high school graduation and post-secondary success.