An Overview of the TECCS Initiative
Early Experiences MatterExperiences between birth and age five have a long-lasting influence on children, shaping their ability to succeed in school, and in life. Scientific research over the past three decades confirms that children who start school healthy and well-prepared are more likely to thrive and are less likely to develop behavioral, health, and academic problems. That’s why investing in the early years is so important. A good start for children today means better jobs, a healthy economy, and fewer problems tomorrow. For communities, the challenge is how. How can local leaders build enthusiasm and support for early childhood development and leverage limited resources to generate maximum benefit for children? That’s what TECCS is all about. We help local communities build solutions designed to meet local needs.
Supported by the Latest ToolsTECCS uses the Early Development Instrument (EDI) to help guide the development of local strategies. The EDI measures five areas of child development proven to affect school readiness:
- Physical health and well-being;
- Social competence;
- Emotional maturity;
- Language and cognitive development; and
- Communication skills and general knowledge
Maps based on EDI data give local leaders a detailed profile of what’s happening in their communities, highlighting neighborhoods doing especially well, as well as those needing greater attention.
From Building Support to Sharing Knowledge: The TECCS ApproachAll TECCS communities follow the same four-step approach to guide improvement efforts.
Engage Community Leaders
TECCS starts by bringing together parents, teachers, business leaders, government officials, school administrators, child care and health providers, and other leaders working to enhance childhood development. Strong local coalitions that advocate for TECCS-inspired improvements are proving to be a vital element for success.
Identify Local Needs through the EDI
TECCS uses a new analytical tool called the Early Development Instrument to measure five areas of child development that affect school readiness. EDI data is collected by Kindergarten teachers and is displayed in community maps alongside other neighborhood information to provide a complete picture of local strengths and needs.
Develop and Implement Solutions
Guided by EDI data and supported by TECCS staff, local leaders craft a plan to improve conditions for young children. They test new innovations, monitor progress, and get ongoing support to refine their approaches. Implementing solutions is never easy, but TECCS communities are generating strong public support and getting results.
Accelerate Knowledge and Share Best Practices
TECCS supports online and in-person learning networks to share new ideas, overcome common barriers, and build evidence about what works.
TECCS Gets ResultsCommunities implementing TECCS love it. They say TECCS has brought local leaders together and broken down the traditional silos that often block community-wide initiatives. TECCS has mobilized communities and engaged parents and residents to develop real solutions for children in their community. Evaluating progress and promoting accountability is built into TECCS because communities repeat the Early Development Instrument (EDI) regularly, at least every two years. It’s too soon for a comprehensive evaluation of TECCS in the United States, but in Canada and Australia, the EDI was shown to be a proven predictor of academic performance and has been used to improve school readiness. Because TECCS builds on the EDI, and offers communities even more support to identify, prioritize and implement improvements, TECCS is widely expected to prove highly effective in the United States.
Spreading Knowledge through Collaborative InnovationTECCS is committed to developing breakthrough ideas and spreading best practices that benefit children and communities throughout the nation.
To accelerate the development of new approaches, TECCS launched a learning community in which participating sites share ideas and experiences and learn from experts inside and outside the TECCS network. The learning community supports in-person and online communications and uses social networking principles first developed at MIT. These types of peer learning communities have been embraced by many technology, health, and government leaders as the best way to rapidly develop innovative ideas, collaborate and spread knowledge about what works.
The TECCS PartnershipTECCS is a joint initiative of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families & Communities and United Way Worldwide. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded three initial pilot sites, and today, TECCS operates in 30 communities located throughout the United States and receives support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, local United Ways, and the communities in which TECCS operates.
Click here to download the brochure
TECCS Initiative: National Pilot Sites 2012-2013
Community Data Dashboard
Click here to view a sample Community Data Dashboard.