Parents as Portals to Kinder-Ready Kids

By Darcy Craig, Jaryn Miller + Seth Saeugling

Tipping Point
Feb 8, 2016 · 3 min read

Studies show that a substantial achievement gap exists between affluent and disadvantaged children when they enter kindergarten. And we know that children who attend high quality pre-kindergarten programs do better throughout life.

School readiness can be increased if parents are better equipped to support their child’s learning and development. Often low-income parents lack the money, knowledge, resources and tools to do this well. This presents an opportunity to develop cognitively stimulating activities that will enable them to contribute more directly to their child’s educational success.

With over three months of research and parent interviews focused on this problem, we have refined our focus and opportunities that will enable children to become “kinder ready.”

Our Focus

  1. Building secure attachment between parent + child
  2. Building social + emotional skills in child

Currently 60% of children entering kindergarten are not ready to learn. The highest needs are with social and emotional learning skills such as self-regulation and social expression according to First 5 Alameda’s 2013 School Readiness report. However, a child’s capacity for social and emotional learning starts with a secure attachment with parents at home. To further illustrate this, we built a pyramid to understand a child’s needs to be Kindergarten Ready, as well as what a parent needs in order to provide this foundation for their child.

With this focus in mind, we have identified three touch points in a child’s development that we can target support:

  1. Prenatal: Support mother and her needs throughout pregnancy
  2. 0–11 Months: Support parents in building secure attachment during the crucial period of the first 11 months of a child’s life
  3. 0–3 Years: Child’s brain is 80% developed by age three

Key Insights

Opportunity Areas

Next Steps

We recently presented our research findings to community members and hosted an ideation workshop to begin generating ideas. As we reach the midpoint of our project, we will be focusing our attention to developing ideas by going back to the parents we interviewed to build out concepts further. This includes the following activities:

  • Co-creation workshops with parents
  • Co-designing a product or service based on insights and opportunities
  • Performing a micro-trial for a product or service in the community

Thank you to all the parents, teachers, subject matter experts, and community organizations for sharing your time and expertise with us!

Darcy, Jaryn, Seth + T Lab Co-Director, Bryan Malong

Tipping Point

Written by

We fight poverty by finding and funding the most promising non-profits in the Bay Area. See how we’re changing the odds: + @tippingpoint