ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — After a year-and-a-half long study, a task force presented data on Monday aimed at making sure students are reaching a developmental threshold to maximize their learning potential.
In June 2018, the group’s joint “Ready to Learn” team and its partners began collecting data on what obstacles were preventing some Rockford students from reaching certain childhood development milestones.
Kindergarten teachers were the source of the information for the study, whose goal is to push transformative changes in the Rockford community.
“It’s not just for the child’s emotional well being, but for, actually, even the way their brain responds to their environment,” said Heidi Duttman, Executive Director of Academics for Rockford Public Schools.
“And so, when we come together with that understanding of early childhood experience which is everything inside and outside of school, that we can have a more cohesive approach to getting kids ready for school,” she said.
The research looked at five areas in early childhood development to help categorize strengths and weaknesses of each neighborhood community in the Rockford area, including physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive, and communication skills.
The group interpreted the data onto area maps, which will show where children have strengths and opportunities across a geographical area.
The Ready to Learn team says the next step will involve the community. It’s launching three separate action teams, community connectors who will use non-profit resources, and policy roundtables with community leaders, in an effort to make long term changes.
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