Children don’t come with instruction books, but Ready4K comes pretty close.
Made possible by the collaborative efforts of Edward Street, childcare providers, Worcester Public Schools, and Ready4K, with grants from the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education and ParentPowered, Ready4K is an evidence-based text messaging platform that helps programs engage with parents, and helps parents support their children.
“Ready4K makes it easy for parents to access simple, effective child development strategies,,” says Edward Street Executive Director Eve Gilmore. “Valuable resources and guidance are right at their fingertips.”
Ready4K has been shown to add an extra two months worth of learning and growth over a 10-month school-year time frame. Participating families (who are not required to enroll and may opt out at any time) receive a range of text messages beneficial to healthy development, including:
- Child development – Ready4K’s “personalized learning” texts keep parents aware of their child’s development in areas such as communications, motor skills, personal-social, and problem solving, and include helpful guidance and support. Texts are customized to each child’s age, changing with them as they grow.
- Resiliency and social-emotional support – Nearly half of American children endure at least one adverse experience. Ready4K’s “trauma-informed” texts help parents strengthen protective factors via parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and awareness of their child’s social-emotional competency.
- At-home learning opportunities - Ready4K provides families with at-home learning activities in language and literacy, math and science, social-emotional learning, physical development, and health and safety.
- Provider and program updates – Participating childcare providers, preschool programs and schools may send up to one text message per week with program updates and reminders. Text messages, which have been shown to reach 97% of families, are ideal for busy parents.
- Local resources for children and families – Edward Street shares timely information via Ready4K that helps parents and caregivers navigate early childhood, such as local healthcare resources and family-friendly events in the community.
Ready4K supports more than 900,000 families nationwide through partnerships with childcare centers and schools. Worcester is the organization’s first community-wide partner, a unique arrangement with wide-ranging benefits, such as:
- Community engagement and collaboration - Edward Street invited WPS to participate and to enroll families with children ages preschool through third grade. Increased communication across programs, schools, and families may strengthen learning and development, and improve transitions from childcare to preschool to elementary school.
- Diversity, equity and inclusion – Edward Street worked with Ready4K and WPS to ensure accessibility in seven languages, to accommodate more Worcester families in their home languages.
- Program and school data - To inform family engagement strategies, providers can track the number of messages opened and participation rates. Additionally, Ready4K notifies providers when a parent’s cell phone number is no longer valid, so that an updated number may be acquired more quickly.
- Aggregated community data – Usage data and trends will help Worcester identify and solve engagement gaps through additional support structures by demographic.
"Our vision is to utilize Ready4K to connect parents and children to the city’s early learning ecosystem,” says Edward Street Managing Director Kim Davenport. “We’re excited to see the effect Ready4K has on engagement and development.”
Families interested in enrolling in Ready4K should contact their child’s Worcester-based provider or school program. Childcare centers should contact Edward Street at
Edward Street is proud to support high-quality, innovative early childhood programming. Donate today so children and families can thrive, and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.