Since 2001 Milford has been supported by the William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund to study the conditions for young children in our community. Our original focus was to improve students' social, emotional, and academic performance. Our collaborative has been determined to seek areas where families and children need support with the intent of strengthening families and education in our community.
In October, 2002, Milford's Promise held a Community Conversation, and this group of people formed the core group of the original Discovery Collaborative. The Milford Discovery Initiative began the first of six meetings where we began to define needs and gaps in services. After reviewing the concerns raised during this conversation, the Milford Discovery Initiative decided to begin task oriented work in three areas: early screening and registration, parenting education and resources, and gathering data on social and emotional issues in young children in Milford.
In addition to our original focus Milford also supports local preschools so that difficult behaviors are properly managed for positive outcomes. In 2008 we are strongly focused on creating a seamless transition from preschool to kindergarten. Six collaborative members plan to participate in the Kindergarten Transition Institute starting in March.
Milford's collaborative has grown significantly over the years to include parents, educators, city officials, community leaders, and invested business partners. Currently the collaborative has approximately thirty members. The collaborative currently operates under the umbrella of Kids Count of Milford. Quarterly Kids Count meeting give partner agencies the opportunity to reflect and share their work specific to them.
The Early Screening Breakout Group drafted a questionnaire for screening young children for information on speech and language, social/emotional issues, developmental issues, nutrition, hearing, vision, and any other individual parental concerns.
The Parenting Education and Resources Breakout Group developd an asset inventory to learn what exists in our community to help parents nurture their children in beneficial and emotionally strengthening ways and that support them during the crucial early years.
The Breakout Group researching social and emotional issues of young children in Milford developed a plan for gathering information in the form of hard data about the numbers of children in danger of being asked to leave daycare centers because of unmanageable or hard to manage behaviors.
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