Ready, Set, Go!

Providing the roadmap for happy, healthy, school-ready young learners

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What A citywide campaign for school readiness and early childhood supports, rooted in comprehensive developmental data representing over 65% of New Orleans’ kindergarten-aged citizens.
Why A child’s readiness for school entry has been connected to third grade literacy, middle school math scores, and high school dropout rates. Ready, Set, Go! engages schools, parents and community leaders in making sure our youngest students arrive prepared for the classroom and for life.
How Teachers and childcare providers fill out a short survey on their students’ developmental progress. Those surveys are then collected, anonymized, and combined into neighborhood-level reports. Ultimately, communities use these reports to assess how well they are supporting children and families, and target resources where they’re needed most.
Who Ready, Set, Go! is an initiative of Orleans Public Education Network, with data support from UCLA and generous funding from the William K. Kellogg Foundation.

About the EDI

All children are born ready to learn, but not all arrive at school ready to succeed. With funding for early childhood education tight across the country, communities need to know where to direct resources in order to meet young children’s most critical needs. That’s where the Early Development Instrument comes in: an international, scientifically-validated needs assessment scale that evaluates children’s development in five standardized domains. EDI information is used to:
  • • Assess the strengths and needs of local children
  • • Report on populations of children in different communities
  • • Provide a kindergarten benchmark for monitoring child development trajectories

The EDI was developed by Drs. Magdalena Janus and Dan Offord at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University, with support of a national advisory committee. It is largely based on the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) and other existing developmental tests. Between 1998-99 and 2000-2004 it has been implemented with over 290,000 students nationwide. Learn more at the EDI homepage

The EDI questions measure children’s ability to meet age-appropriate developmental expectations in five general domains:

Physical Health & Wellbeing
Absence of disease or impairment, access to adequate and appropriate nutrition, and gross and fine motor skills. Necessary gross and fine motor abilities to complete common kindergarten and first grade tasks, including items such as controlling a pencil or turning pages without tearing the pages.

Social Competence
Children need to meet general standards of acceptable behavior in public places, control their behavior, cooperate with others, show respect for adult authority, and communicate feelings and needs in a socially acceptable manner

Emotional Maturity
Emotional maturity is characterized by a balance between a child’s curiosity about the world, an eagerness to try new experiences, and some ability to reflect before acting. A child who is fearful and reluctant to engage in new activities misses learning opportunities that are seized upon by a child with a positive approach to life.

Language and Cognitive Development
Language skills refer to vocabulary size and a child’s ability to name letters and attend to the component sounds within words. Cognitive skills involve the ways in which children perceive, organize, and analyze information.

Communication Skills and General Knowledge
Children must be able to understand verbal communications with other adults and children and to verbally communicate experiences, ideas, wishes, and feelings in a way that can be understood by others.

New Orleans Data

44

Schools

2,597

Surveys

44

Neighborhoods

65%

of New Orleans 5-year-olds

From school years 2009-10 to 2012-13, OPEN collected and analyzed EDI information ultimately representing over 65% of New Orleans' kindergarten-age children. This critical data was synthesized into two citywide community reports and a series of 44 neighborhood profiles:

Using the EDI Data

Ready, Set, Go In Action

New Orleans EDI data has already been incorporated into a range of initiatives, including:

  • • the Data Center’s Youth Index;
  • • the Urban League’s State of Black New Orleans at 10;
  • • neighborhood leadership training at the city’s annual Neighborhood Summit;
  • • early childhood educator training
  • • Citywide Community Reports and Neighborhood Profiles
  • • the Parents as First Teachers Initiative by the New Orleans Kids Partnership

Citizens and groups can use EDI results to identify the strengths and needs of the children within their communities, and advocate for policies and funding that affect the areas of greatest need.

Policymakers can use EDI data to plan early childhood investment, inform policy and program decisions, or evaluate program effectiveness. The use of EDI maps can help focus investments and identify the areas with the highest needs.

Researchers can use EDI data to address important questions better understand the genetic, biological, and social determinants of children’s health and well-being.

Are you a community leader, parent, researcher or educator who wants to explore the EDI data? Contact us today!

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© Orleans Public Education Network, 2009 — 2017.