In Aurora, Renewed Focus on PN3 Needs
SPARK, a member of our coalition, launches Bright Beginnings
Raising Illinois is grateful that SPARK is a proud member of our Coalition! SPARK (Strong, Prepared and Ready for Kindergarten) is an education initiative of Fox Valley United Way. This collaboration includes Fox Valley United Way; the city of Aurora, Illinois; School Districts 129 (West Aurora), 131 (East Aurora), 204 (Indian Prairie) and 308 (Community Unit); the Aurora Public Library; and the Illinois Action for Children in partnership with Aurora early childhood development agencies. Now in its 11th year, SPARK has launched Bright Beginnings, a prenatal-to-3 (PN3) initiative to better align agency practices, coordinate services and improve access to programs for expecting families, infants and toddlers across DuPage and Kane Counties.
Through authentic partnerships with health, school, community and government partners, Bright Beginnings lays the foundation for school readiness within the greater Aurora community and positively impacts child and family early success outcomes. With programs that assist families to receive all necessary PN3 services, while also helping their children reach developmental milestones by engaging in high quality early childhood learning experiences, Bright Beginnings helps ensure that infants and toddlers are building a strong foundation to succeed in life.
Bright Beginnings develops authentic partnerships grounded in a shared definition of what school readiness means and the goals needed for change. This includes continued professional development of educators and healthcare professionals, as well as parent workshops.
Partners are also aligned in their preparedness and commitment to support community systems change. By developing an early childhood coordinated system across Fox Valley in which the school districts, community based early childhood programs and community agencies serving families and children all work as one unit, Aurora’ young children will have the resources, knowledge and skills to thrive during the PN3 period and beyond.
The Bright Beginnings initiative has three impact goals for increasing the number of children in Fox Valley enrolled in prenatal, home visiting and infant/toddler child care programs, as well as receiving Early Intervention:
- Create better aligned efforts and practices while building partnerships with human service agencies serving high need children to facilitate outreach, referral and enrollment of children ages 0 to 3 in home visiting and development programs using SPARK’s Gateway to Early Childhood, single point of enrollment.
- Provide more coordinated services and efforts through facilitated Collective Impact dialogues/trainings with pediatricians, and home visiting programs that will deepen our community’s understanding about the positive impact for our families and children with shared strategies such as intentional cross referral.
- Improve accessibility of services and efforts through a community wide developmental screening effort to build awareness about the importance of developmental screenings and increase the number of children 0-5 being screened on a regular basis.