Research shows that children experience a smoother transition into elementary school when there is coordination among schools, early childhood education programs, and families. The Early Childhood Community School Linkages Project supports efforts to improve the quality and continuity of practice across community school and early childhood settings and systems. The Linkages Project supports local leaders seeking to connect early childhood programs more closely with high quality elementary schools that have deep roots in the community. Through Linkages, communities plan effective transitions into elementary school for children and their families, implement effective family engagement practices, help educators and early childhood providers link their practices more explicitly, and over time working towards state policy that supports these efforts.
Case Studies of Early Childhood Education & Family Engagement in Community Schools
Community school initiatives highlight aspects of their Linkages Project work.
Find out more about Linkages Project positive outcomes at the child and family, school, and systems levels.
Mind in the Making (MITM), developed by Families and Work Institute (FWI), is an unprecedented effort to share the science of children’s learning with the general public, families and professionals who work with children and families. IEL is partnering with FWI to implement a strategy for using MITM and the Seven Essential Skills (a research-based approach to improving children’s Life Skills and success) as a focal point for building bridges between early childhood systems and schools while promoting educational innovation in community schools. This initiative is a novel approach to family engagement, and connects families and professionals with evidence-based information and skills for developing youth children from birth through age 8. By embedding MITM within a comprehensive community schools strategy, the needs of vulnerable children and families are better addressed as educators and families improve their capacity to intentionally promote life skills starting in the earliest years of children’s lives.
“MITM helps adults better understand how children learn, what they need to learn and how adults can take simple, effective steps to promote this learning.”
Tulsa community school initiatives highlight aspects of their MITM-Community Schools work.
Earl Boynes from Multnomah community school initiatives highlight aspects of their MITM-Community Schools work.
As national attention increasingly focuses on the importance of children’s development in their early years, we have the responsibility—as community members, parents, educators, leaders, and policy makers—to do our part to ensure that young children have the opportunity to thrive. Developing and supporting leaders is key to creating and sustaining those opportunities. IEL is partnering with the University of New Mexico Family Development Program to support community school initiative leaders and their partners who are working together to intentionally change outcomes for our youngest children and their families. The aim of the Leadership Institute is to provide support for leaders who have made a commitment to work together in new ways to overcome inequities that perpetuate poor outcomes for children and their families.
“FDP promotes the importance of building a strong foundation for early learning that begins by honoring each family’s home culture and first language.”
IEL partners with national organizations on a range of issues including chronic absenteeism, school readiness and reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
"Opportunity for All Demands All of Us" by S. Kwesi Rollins, Martin J. Blank, and Reuben Jacobson in the Huffington Post Education Section