A successful education system is vital to the future of the communities we serve to ensure an adequate workforce pipeline, a thriving local economy and – importantly – improved population health outcomes. Realizing the strong link between education and health outcomes, Indiana University Health is focusing efforts on Pre-K-12 education in response to the community need expressed by local communities served by IU Health.
Research reveals that:
- Only approximately half of children entering kindergarten are prepared
- Children who are not caught up by third grade typically never catch up
- Children from underserved communities are typically read to for only 25 hours during their first four years of life, whereas children from middle-class families have been read to 1,000 to 1,700 hours before they start kindergarten
Realizing that educational disparities appear early, IU Health teams are working to alleviate the reading disparities by supporting Read Up Reader, and ensuring kindergartners are prepared for success by partnering with United Way and the Indiana Association of United Ways to offer:
- Kindergarten Countdown Camp – Summer camps aimed at underserved incoming kindergartners deemed at-risk for being unsuccessful their first year of school. These children are taught basic skills incoming kindergartners should know: alphabet, counting, standing in line, basic vocabulary skills, colors and shapes. Campers had a 19% increase in Get Ready to Read scores from the beginning to end of camp.
- Read Up Reader – IU Health volunteers spend one hour each day reading to underserved children in daycare centers to improve their vocabulary skills and early literacy.
IU Health is committed to improving outcomes in pre-K-12 education in the Indianapolis community and around the state. In support of this initiative, IU Health is excited to become the Founding City Partner of Playworks® for the Indianapolis school community. The program is set to launch in the fall of 2013.
Playworks® is recognized by parents, educators and policymakers as a positive force in the movement for children's health and well-being and improving school climate. Their program will use the power of play to enhance classroom learning, build teamwork skills, encourage kids to be physically active and decrease bullying and transition time to learning. The Playworks® direct service coaching model is currently active in more than 380 schools across the United States.
To learn more about Playworks® visit the program's website.