The Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Ounce of Prevention Fund work with local public and private partners in communities across the country to establish Educare Schools. These schools comprise the growing consortium known as the Educare Learning Network. The Educare Denver school at Clayton Early Learning is a part of this network.
Partnerships in the Educare Learning Network share a single commitment: to build, develop and implement local Educare Schools that give at-risk children, from birth to age 5, opportunities for school success and lifelong achievement. Through their combined efforts, members of the Educare Learning Network serve as catalysts for broader early childhood programmatic, policy and systems change.
Clayton Early Learning participates in a national implementation study to help our Educare Denver staff and partners use tools and data to reach full implementation of the Educare Model. As a part of this project, data are used to continuously inform the work of the Educare Denver school, improve practice, better individualize programs to the needs of children and families in the center, and identify areas for program, systems and/or policy change.
The Research and Evaluation Department of Clayton Early Learning collects ongoing child assessment data in the areas of social-emotional development, language and literacy development, and general academic knowledge to describe and document the progress of the children and families served by our Educare Denver school.
We do this in order to inform our program improvement efforts, individualize our practices to the needs of the children and families we serve, and satisfy accountability requirements set by funding agencies. Within the Educare Learning Network, Educare Schools incorporate the latest findings from academic research as well as lessons learned from day-to-day experiences with young children, families and staff to enhance their work.
Recent results from this study suggest that the earlier children enter Educare, the better prepared they are for school. Our partners at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute recently examined kindergarten-bound children from five Educare sites, including Educare Denver at Clayton Early Learning, enrolled during the 2007-08 school year. Children who had enrolled in Educare prior to age 2, scored higher on measures of vocabulary and general school readiness than children who entered Educare later. These early-entering children had scores that approached the national average for vocabulary and exceeded the national average for school readiness when they left the program for kindergarten. Further details about these results are included in a report available from Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.
In addition to Clayton, other Educare Schools serve young children and their families in a growing network across the country. Sites include Chicago, Omaha, Milwaukee, Tulsa, Miami and more. For a list of Educare Schools, visit www.educareschools.org.