The Boston Opportunity Agenda is working with parents and more than 200 representatives from early education centers, family day-care centers, nonprofit organizations, schools, public health, philanthropy, government and medical institutions to create a citywide plan for children from birth to age eight. Our strategy has three main prongs. First, we are identifying core metrics that, if moved, will result in better outcomes for children and families. The three outcomes we have selected are:
Outcome 1: All children ages birth to three experience a healthy start and healthy development.
Outcome 2: Early education and care providers build curious, confident and involved three- to five-year-old learners.
Outcome 3: Students aged five to eight are ready for sustained success.
Next, we have identified large community-wide endeavors that can be leveraged. One is the Boston Basics Campaign, which educates parents of infants in five codified behaviors, or basics, in interacting with infants that boost their children’s language abilities, reasoning and confidence—starting from birth.
Another is DRIVE, a screening initiative of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley in partnership with the Commonwealth’s Office of Early Education and Care, Boston’s Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Network, and the Mayor’s Office. DRIVE is an innovative approach to improving school readiness with child development screening.
Finally, we are working in five committees to align current resources and activities and identify new ideas for increasing the rate and pace of change in early childhood. The committees are focused on areas with the greatest potential to create change: