Early childhood plays a critical role in later school success.
According to a 2020 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, kindergarten readiness can have an impact on how successful a child is in high school and beyond, leading to better grades and lower dropout rates as well as better health and lifestyle habits. Children who enter school with key readiness skills have an 82 percent chance of mastering basic skills by age 11, compared with 45 percent for young children who are not “kindergarten ready.” Yet many children face barriers that prevent a strong start. By the time children from low-income families begin school, many already score significantly lower than their peers on reading and math achievement tests (Rouse et al., 2005).
Families are looking for support, but there is no system that provides it.
A study by Overdeck Family Foundation grantee Family Connects found that 94-99% of families expressed a desire for community resources. This number is likely now higher during the COVID-19 pandemic: recent data suggests that families are navigating unprecedented health, emotional, and economic uncertainty, putting the parenting practice and mindset gains of the last 30 years at risk. Since March, in research conducted by the RAPID-EC project out of the University of Oregon, 27% of parents and >50% of low-income parents reported worsening mental health for themselves, and 14% reported worsening behavioral health for their children.
With the rise of distance learning, the school-home connection is more important than ever.
Demand for grantees who provide a way for teachers to connect with students grew dramatically since March, with FASTalk experiencing 4x growth and doubled earned revenue and TalkingPoints expanding its reach more than 6x to connect 3+ million teachers and families. Literacy assessment data showed that FASTalk students outperformed similar, non-FASTalk students, and 97% of educators who use TalkingPoints reported that it was helpful or somewhat helpful in improving student behavior, engagement, and outcomes.
Language development and parent language quality are key early predictors of K-readiness.
A longitudinal study (Pediatrics, 2018) by Overdeck Family Foundation grantee LENA found a strong correlation between parental and child conversational turns at ages one through three with language and IQ at ages nine through 13. Additionally, research from grantee partner I-LABS has found that child language development accelerates faster when parents interact and engage more with their young children.
Trusted messengers are key to building demand in communities and positively related to the likelihood of program adoption.
A national survey co-funded by the Overdeck Family Foundation found that parents were most likely to seek advice from within their own social networks, with 86% looking to immediate family members and 73% relying on friends. 83% also sought advice from healthcare professionals. These sources were not only the most frequently consulted, but the most trusted.
Parent coaching can be effective in changing parent behavior and related child outcomes.
Centering Healthcare Institute’s coaching method, which takes place through group-based prenatal and pediatric healthcare visits, has resulted in impressive results: Families who participate in CenteringPregnancy show a 33 percent to 47 percent decreased risk of preterm birth, better attendance for prenatal and postpartum visits, and greater readiness for birth and infant care than those in traditional care. And grantees such as LENA and I-LABS both use technology-informed coaching to improve parent and child language interactions. Early evidence from these interventions suggests that the coaching is effective at improving both short and long-term child language outcomes.
Ensuring preschoolers thrive by keeping families at the center.
Centering Healthcare Institute
Improving children’s outcomes through group-based prenatal and pediatric healthcare.
Connecting home and school to close the early literacy gap.
An early language program powered by “talk pedometer” technology.
Generating knowledge to help parents support children’s early language development.
Scaling the use of AI-powered translation to strengthen teachers’ connections to non-English speaking families.
Support parents and families to be their children’s first teachers and champions, increasing parental knowledge, skills, and capacities, and connecting parents with each other as well as with their children.
Improve Early Learning Environments
Improve the quality of early learning environments by helping educators increase their use of evidence-based teaching practices and ability to engage the families and communities they serve.
Spread Best Practices
Accelerate the spread of best practices in early childhood through knowledge generation, measurement improvement, and field building.
To what extent do in-person models have the same or similar impact on child outcomes when delivered virtually?
Is it more impactful to improve the quality of early learning environments or their ability to engage the family and community?
What are the most cost-effective drivers of K-Readiness and early school success?