The Ready Children Equation

At Wyoming Kids First, we believe successful early childhood development is the result of many participants’ capacities to support children during this crucial period of growth. That is, a child’s success does not rely solely on his family, educators, or community—rather, his success is a sum of many influences. To represent the many elements that impact a child’s healthy growth and development, we use a readiness equation—a concept first introduced by the National School Readiness Initiative—that reflects the abilities and willingness of communities to achieve positive outcomes for their children.

The readiness equation takes into account the many areas of child growth and development and represents all of the stakeholders that impact those development areas. “Readiness,” then, describes the capabilities of children, families, physical and mental health organizations, early care and education environments, schools, and communities to best promote and provide for children’s success in their first year of school and beyond. A ready child is prepared cognitively, physically, socially, and personally across many domains. Children develop holistically: growth and development in one area depend upon development in other areas. Each component plays a vital role in the preparation of our children for success in the first year of school and beyond; no one component can stand on its own.

Ready families have adults who recognize and value that they are the first and most important teacher in a child’s life. Ready families take responsibility for their child’s or children’s preparation for success in school and life through direct, frequent, and positive involvement and engagement. They provide steady and supportive relationships, ensure safe and reliable environments, promote good health, and foster curiosity and excitement about learning and self-control.

Ready health systems provide children and families access to high-quality preventative, continuous, and early intervention services to meet their physical, mental, emotional, oral, visual, auditory, and nutritional needs. Quality health services are facilitated by skilled professionals who engage in family support and treatment and are sensitive to cultural values and individual differences.

Ready early care and education professionals accept children at all levels and provide high-quality learning environments by engaging the whole community. A ready early care and education environment provides children with opportunities to build a positive foundation for confidence, knowledge, skills and abilities. Children in ready early care and education environments are led by skilled professionals who recognize, reinforce and extend children’s strengths and who are sensitive to cultural values and individual differences.

Ready schools accept all children and provide a seamless transition to formal school environments by engaging the whole community. A ready school welcomes all children with opportunities to enhance and build confidence in their knowledge, skills and abilities. Children in ready schools are led by skilled teachers who recognize, reinforce and extend children’s strengths and who are sensitive to cultural values and individual differences.

Ready communities play an essential part in supporting families in their role as the primary stewards of children’s readiness. Ready communities—consisting of businesses; nonprofits; faith-based, social service, and health organizations; community groups; and local governments—must work together to support children’s school and life success by providing families affordable access to information, services, supports and opportunities.