School Ready Communities: An Early Childhood Opportunities Index


March 18, 2022

The earliest years of a child’s life are full of critical milestones that influence a lifetime of outcomes. Being ready to start kindergarten is one of these critical early milestones. School readiness refers to whether a child has attained physical, cognitive, and socioemotional skills associated with positive academic and social outcomes before starting kindergarten.

This report leverages Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York’s online database of community-level data to create the Early Childhood Opportunities Index, a composite index of eleven indicators of early childhood health and opportunities for school readiness. The indicators represent factors related to school readiness based on evidence from previous research, and input from community-based child and family service providers.

Importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic destabilized and limited access to a wide range of community resources families rely on to support their young children’s development. Although the data in this report represent conditions prior to the pandemic, the index is designed to measure relative differences between communities and over time. This means we can identify in which communities, families faced barriers to early childhood health and school readiness prior to the pandemic and—as more recent data become available over time—assess whether progress is made citywide and in specific communities.

Download our report to read findings from this analysis, as well as policy recommendations to ensure access to robust and multidimensional supports that ensure young children’s healthy development and opportunities to be school ready.

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