As we discussed in a previous blog post, developmental screening helps families understand a child’s development, celebrate milestones, and identify supports for delays in development. Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), First 5 Alameda County/Help Me Grow (HMG) and other partners have been expanding access to developmental screenings for young children in Oakland.
Over the next four years (2022-2026), Transitional Kindergarten (TK) will expand statewide to include all four-year-olds. This is a major structural shift in the mixed-delivery system of care for our youngest Californians.
With an additional year of public school, Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) will provide free education to Oakland’s children at an earlier age and may offer improved curriculum alignment between early education and existing K-12 systems.
Yet without careful and equitable implementation that centers the needs of the children, families, and early educators who will be most directly impacted, UTK may pose challenges for working parents, hinder developmentally-appropriate care for young children, and destabilize the early care and education field by removing 4-year-olds from child care settings.
Early childhood is a pivotal time to provide the supports our children need to grow into strong adults who can reach their potential. Oakland Starting Smart and Strong is working to ensure that young children are screened for developmental, social and cognitive needs, and that necessary services are provided to meet those needs.
In this blog post we highlight how OSSS and our partners at Oakland Unified School District, with the support of Help Me Grow/First 5 Alameda, have successfully scaled developmental screenings at all OUSD Child Development Centers, providing valuable information to parents and providers alike. In a future post we’ll share information about a research study on developmental screening practices across Oakland.
Parent Voices Oakland (PVO), in partnership with OSSS, was recently showcased in a national case study for its groundbreaking family-led data collection and advocacy.
Tanisha Payton, Leadership Development and Research Manager with Parent Voices Oakland, and Priya Jagannathan, OSSS Director, were interviewed for a case study: “Parents Know Best: How Family-Led Data Collection and Advocacy Lead to Increases in Early Childhood Funding in Alameda County”.