ROLES IN COMMUNITY
In alignment with our values of supporting research-based, family centered work, KRC will serve as a resource center for national, state, and local best practices in early childhood development and system coordination. We collect, synthesize, and disseminate ideas across the early learning spectrum (0-5) to inform individual service delivery and for leveraging resources to expand community impact. Local leaders and staff contribute to the “library,” whether physical or virtual, of research-informed practice and share across the community. This includes resources on how work can be accomplished, as well as what programs or funding mechanisms have been used to accomplish community goals.
Directly related to our value for facilitative leadership, KRC serves as the coordinating body for intentional dialogue that moves our community towards all children being prepared for kindergarten. KRC facilitates opportunities for collaborative relationships in the early learning sector, supports families in navigating community resources, builds community consensus around strategic initiatives, and provides the infrastructure for systems building and management. We accomplish these roles through celebration, group-learning, respect, open communication and mutual accountability.
In cooperation and partnership with the Moonshot-Community Action Network (M-CAN), KRC mobilizes community partners for collective impact. This includes coordinated messaging and strategic engagement of elected officials, businesses, and local funders in support of early childhood initiatives, empowering parents and families on behalf of their children, and organizing partners around data to make informed decisions.
Through effective collaborative leadership, KRC has facilitated partnerships that are enhancing existing services and creating new opportunities to serve families. We have hosted five Community Summits that convene a cross sector of service providers, philanthropists, elected officials, educators, and national experts. These Summits have fostered learning around local needs and opportunities to address barriers, changed priorities in how and what receives funding, and opened doors between unlikely partners. At a 2015 Summit, a pediatrician and nonprofit leader recognized a shared desire to show parents the value of reading to their children. The Summit created the opportunity for them to connect, brainstorm and birth a new initiative for the pediatrician’s office. Through the nonprofit, the office now has the materials to educate parents about “language nutrition” and get books into the hands of their families. Summits are hosted annually and you can learn more about the next one here.
KRC has facilitated a number of connections between community partners. Partnerships have included Management staff, the Indian River County Library, The Learning Alliance’s Learn To Play/Play To Learn, Big Brothers Big Sisters/AmeriCorps, Suncoast Mental Health, Healthy Start, the School District Teen Parent Program, and many others.
Systems Building and Collaborative Change
But what does it mean that we are a collaborative? A community collaborative is a group of cross-sector partners committed to contributing their individual resources to serve a common goal larger than any one organization can accomplish on their own. Kindergarten “readiness” involves a wide range of individuals, non-profits, state agencies, private providers, and businesses to ensure that a community and its families are working together to meet the needs of our children. The Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative is the backbone organization that serves as a facilitator and connector for community partners and families. Our role as a collaborative is to hold the vision for what’s possible in our community, align with and support community leaders committed to the same vision, and leverage resources to expand community impact. Through Emergent Learning© principles and tools, we create intentional space for shared learning, reflection, and action-oriented dialogue that incubates new ideas and then advocates for the needed resources for implementation.
Emergent Learning, M-CAN and the Playing Field
The Learning Alliance (TLA) is the non-profit organization that provides the backbone staffing support for the Moonshot Moment goal and the Moonshot Community Action Network (M-CAN). Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative staff and Board members are active participants in M-CAN and we coordinate work as appropriate with The Learning Alliance. As part of the Moonshot Moment, Emergent Learning is a guiding framework for how we work together. We have adopted emergent learning language and tools to help us frame community issues, plan for events and projects, and even develop self-leadership so we can become an unstoppable team.
As part of this framework, we believe that:
we are on a journey and the work and solutions emerge from the process
we focus on what’s possible and work together to co-create solutions
change is exponential, not linear, therefore we must adopt a Growth Mindset
players can self-select when and how they participate
breakdowns lead to breakthroughs
Leaders hold the tension between the new future and business as usual. We implement emergent learning processes to navigate that tension. Those processes include 1) using framing questions to clarify strategic intent so that our teams’ daily actions are aligned, powerful and working on the most important issues, 2) following the four quadrants to design, test and reflect on actions taken to help meet our community’s goals, and 3) using Before Action Reviews (BARs) and After Action Reviews (AARs) to declare intentions and goals and then reflect on what caused outcomes.
“Literacy is not a spectator sport. Everyone needs to get out of the bleachers and onto the playing field.”
Ralph Smith, Director for the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading.
Moonshot Moment joined the Campaign for Grade Level Reading in 2012 and has been integrating learning from the national network and sharing our local learnings in return. With the declaration that literacy is not a spectator sport, M-CAN developed a playing field graphic for community leaders and partners to see where they might fit in our overall commitment to grade level reading.
Each pillar in turn has its own field and its own players, and the kindergarten readiness field begins when a woman becomes pregnant. It involves multiple actors, or “players”, and “plays” along the way that contribute to the end goal of a child arriving prepared to learn in kindergarten. As backbone support to this field, KRC has developed a graphic to demonstrate the many opportunities to influence a more positive outcome for children. It is incredible the way so many leaders have come together in our community to rally around children. We would not be where we are today if were not for the vision and commitment of some dedicated community members.