Each Action Team focuses on a different priority. Participation in Action Teams is open to the public. We welcome all new members. Small contributions can often make BIG differences.
We appreciate the time and effort all the Coalition members invest into building stronger, brighter futures for the children and families in Southern Illinois.
Our current Action Teams include School Readiness, Screening, Strong Families, and the Early Childhood Workforce
Ongoing research continues to highlight the importance of early childhood and the fact that the first five years of a child’s life will have the biggest impact on their overall development and future success. More than one million neural connections per second will be made in a child’s brain up to the age of six, creating the foundation for all future behavior, health, and learning It’s a time when they are open to learning about themselves and others and are keen to explore and understand the world.
Increase community leader’s knowledge and understanding of the importance of early childhood education and care, leading to a culture shift that prioritizes children and families in a systemic way empowering them to support children and families better
Early school readiness can lead to better grades and lower dropout rates, as well as better health and lifestyle habits. Parents, family members, teachers, physicians, and community members are all important in helping young children be ready for school.
All children arrive at school ready to learn and there is a community-wide commitment to supporting this goal.
Screening is the first step in identifying children at risk for cognitive, motor, communication, or social-emotional delays. When these delays are addressed early, screening can often occur in various settings.
Coordinate a well-integrated community-wide screening and early detection/children find the system so that all children in southern Illinois will be screened for developmental and social-emotional delays with appropriate and available resources to support the next steps.
Children have a better chance at success when they have strong families. Strong families give children a safe, secure place to live and grow. It helps them build the confidence to explore and learn new things. And they can overcome a setback or face a challenge because they know they have strong family support.
Families will be strong, knowledgeable, and engaged with access to resources and support that empower them for success.
Even before COVID-19, the region saw a shortage of qualified early childhood teachers. Low wages, lack of benefits, and high stress increased turnover rates. A 2019 staffing survey showed that as many as 32% of teachers in licensed childcare centers leave their job every two years. The number of professionals leaving the field for other jobs or professional opportunities continues to increase. At the same time, higher education Institutions report there are fewer students enrolling in early childhood classes. The state has responded by investing in several strategies and initiatives designed to mitigate the shortage. While these programs yield positive results, more must be done to ensure an adequate supply of qualified teachers.
Southern Illinois has sufficient high-quality candidates to meet staffing needs in the region’s early childhood education and care programs.