How did we begin?
Thrive in 5 was the result of a comprehensive and strategic 18-month planning process led by then Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.
We set out to ensure school readiness for all of Boston’s children by 2018 by implementing a three-pronged approach:
1. Gather data on the existing early education landscape in the city;
2. Build the capacity of existing programs to meet immediate needs—particularly to support parents’ role as their child’s first teacher; and
3. Conduct long-term planning in partnership with community leaders, in all sectors that touch the lives of young children and their families.
To tackle this, a School Readiness Action Planning Team (“the APT”), was selected by Mayor Menino from 250 nominees and included 65 local leaders and representatives from the Massachusetts Departments of Education, Public Health, Early Education and Care, Social Services, and Transitional Assistance. Informed by the science of early childhood development, APT members were asked to design a plan for which they would serve as ambassadors when the planning process ended – in their own organization, in their own professional sector, and throughout the city. The APT was in turn informed by a diverse group of 40 parents, grandparents, and guardians from all Boston neighborhoods, called “the Parents APT.”
The resulting plan, named Boston School Readiness Roadmap, featured various groups working to define and implement each component: a “Parents Are a Child’s First Teacher” campaign; a pilot assessment tool to measure school readiness; a 0-5 data and research team; culturally appropriate tools to communicate child development information to parents and supporting organizations; and more.
The roadmap articulates Thrive in 5’s broad vision, with a Readiness Equation at its center:
Based on this Readiness Equation, Thrive in 5’s role sharpened over time to focus on building capacity for community partners to advance best practices in three key areas:
- Family Engagement and Parent Leadership (Boston Children Thrive) – to engage and empower parents and families in their children’s learning and healthy development from birth.
- Quality Early Education (Ready Educators) – to improve the quality of Boston’s early care and education programs, using child outcomes to drive program improvement.
- Universal Child Development Screening (Screen to Succeed) – to build a citywide screening network to monitor children’s development in their early years.
To learn more about Thrive in 5’s planning process and our roadmap, please read our report: Boston’s School Readiness Roadmap for Success
To find out more about our impact, and lessons learned along the way, please read our final report: Every Child Given Every Opportunity to Thrive