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New early childhood plan targets birth through third grade-age children

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute is working with six metro area school districts to reach out to the youngest learners.

It’s an initiative supporting children from birth to third grade. Director of Program Development Christine Maxwell says the goal is to fill gaps that exist now in education for very young children.

Maxwell says the program involves a specific model connecting families with schools. During home visits, the early childhood professionals work with parents on building relationships and supporting their children.

She says the school districts identify families whose children might be at risk for developmental issues.

"It weaves that together in a very connected way with quality preschool, so as children move from those early development experiences with support through home visiting. They transition in to preschool in a smoother way than typically happens."

The focus on connected, continuous learning remains through third grade.

Maxwell estimates more than 4,000 children will be part of the program through the 12 elementary schools implementing it. The initiative, called the Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan, was passed by the state legislature.