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Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

Less than 50% of children enter kindergarten prepared to learn. When the quality of a child's early educational experience is key to success later in life, this shortfall has long-term effects. According to a 2010 McKinsey Group study, Southeast Michigan lacks a coordinated strategy and the necessary resources to ensure the region reaches its goal that all children enter school with the proper educational and social tools to succeed.

Why it matters

90% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of four. Yet by age three, a child in poverty will hear 30 million fewer words than a child in a middle-income home.

A child born to a low-income home has only a 48% chance of educational success; that success rate drops to 10% by age three if that child is not stimulated through reading and creative play.

What we've done

  • Created a network that supports parents and caregivers by providing early education training and tools to create a literacy-rich environment.
    • Expanded Early Learning Communities (ELCs) in nine communities from five hubs serving 376 parents and caregivers to 40 hubs serving almost 4700 parents and caregivers.
    • ELCs are places where parents and caregivers can go to learn the skills to build nurturing, literacy-rich environments for the children in their lives.
    • ELC participants reported more use of developmentally appropriate practices and less use of inappropriate practices and beliefs than the comparison group.
  • Provided 10,000 subsidized childcare providers six hours of state-mandated training through our ELCs.
  • Improve parent and caregiver engagement through training and providing children access to books.
    • Provide children birth to age five with one book per month.
    • In 2010, the number of children receiving books rose from 3,000 to 10,000.
    • Developing an early learning curriculum for Detroit Public Television Channel 56.2 to provide the successful ELC model to families and caregivers across the region.
  • Leading the first efforts to obtain baseline data and measure success through a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment – the Early Developmental Index (EDI). EDI was piloted in four school districts and 30 schools in Inkster and Detroit in partnership with UCLA and 31 other school districts nationwide.

Our goals for this year and the future

2011 - 2012

  • Connect and train 500 Reading Navigators that will work directly with individual families to demonstrate and coach on the practice of reading in the home for 20 minutes a day.
  • Select 25 grantees who will receive mini grants as part of the Social Innovation Fund. This Grant will put more than $4 million dollars into our most at risk communities over the next four years.
  • Expand the Early Developmental Index (EDI) to all eight target communities as a common assessment of kindergarten readiness.


  • Have 80% of children entering kindergarten ready to succeed.