The Health Department is a strong partner in the Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI). The Early Childhood Development Initiative is an initiative of the Monterey County Children’s Council. The Initiative’s vision is that all children in Monterey County live in safe, nurturing homes and communities, are healthy and valued, succeed in school, and realize their full potential. This vision provides the foundation for essential investments that will last a lifetime for our children and contribute to the prosperity of our County.
In 2014, ECDI hosted five rounds of community meetings to get input from government, non-government, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals on how to maximize the impact of existing and future resources to support a child’s development. Maximizing the impact of community efforts will require us to adopt new approaches, such as the Collective Impact approach. Using the Collective Impact approach, communities will agree to create a common agenda around early childhood development and education, to create a shared measurement system with key indicators of success, to align their efforts, and to communicate effectively and continuously.
There are many challenges facing our community. For example, only one out of every three third graders is reading at grade level. Children reading proficiently by third grade have a distinct advantage because those who aren’t are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Also, only half of parents with children entering kindergarten read or show picture books daily. Reading out loud to children promotes language and early literacy skills while later helping with reading comprehension. Reading to children often is also a strong predictor of how well they are prepared for school. In addition, only one out of four children is socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten. This means that the majority of children arriving at kindergarten have trouble following classroom routines, getting along with their peers, and listening to directions, all of which are critical skills for learning.
Whether a child is read to regularly by parents, is social ready for kindergarten, or is reading at grade level at third grade will determine the likelihood of future success; these are known as indicators of success. The task of improving these indicators may appear daunting, but it is not impossible, especially if our communities agree to work towards a collective impact on these indicators. Participation from a wide variety of community members is critical to the success of finding ways to address our community challenges.
Questions about EDCI can be directed to Dr. Edward Moreno, Co-Chair of ECDI by phone at 831-755-4585 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information is also available on the Monterey County Children’s Council website
For more information about investing in early childhood development:
- Invest in early childhood development: Reduce deficits, strengthen the economy, James J. Heckman
- The Heckman Equation: Invest + Develop + Sustain = Gain brochure
- The Heckman Equation website