In 1999, The Children's Services Network and other community members developed a Child Care Plan for Pierce County. One of the priorities discussed was the need to better link with schools. At that time, the priority was focused more on transportation, so when the plan was updated in 2002, the scope was broadened to include the general need for the early learning community and school districts to create linkages regarding transitions for children, and preparation for school.
To accomplish this goal a planning group formed and began meeting regularly. One of the major outcomes of that group was an event that took place October 1, 2003 in Pierce County titled "Creating School Linkages: Transitions for Young Children from Community to School." With approximately 70 attendees, we had groups from Bethel, Dieringer, Sumner, Peninsula, Tacoma, and the general community. Participants in the groups included school personnel, child care center directors, family child care owners, parents, and practicing specialists from within many county-wide departments. Upon the realization that we had a common idea; visions, goals, and action plans were created in each group, and future meeting dates were scheduled.
Each local group continues to meet regularly, creating two or three events per year in their districts to bring together those working and living with young children. There are now teams operating in Bethel, Clover Park, Dieringer, Fife, Franklin-Pierce, Peninsula, Sumner, Tacoma, and University Place and small groups beginning in Orting and Puyallup. The School Linkages planning committee consists of community members from Child Care Resource and Referral, Puget Sound Educational Service District, the Pierce County Library System and the United Way of Pierce County. We continue to hold county-wide workshops, one in the spring and one in the fall, to bring new district teams in and to give existing teams the chance to update their goals and plans.
Our last county-wide workshop took place on November 10, 2008. At that time we reviewed a Draft Strategic Plan for Pierce County Linkages. The comments have been incorporated, and the final Strategic Plan has been completed.
At that last workshop, we also heard great updates about other Early Learning Initiatives in Pierce County. Please see the event minutes for a great synopsis.
Our next county-wide workshop has not yet been scheduled.
We have also provided an Event Tool Kit to all participating districts to help in planning local events and groups. The Event Tool Kit consists of the following:
- School Linkages power point
- Community Planning
- Tips & Ideas
All groups: Visions & Goals, Action Plans, Next Steps for existing groups.
If you would like more information about this initiative, please contact Victoria Jones at 591-5870, or send an e-mail