The Early Learning Foundation works with schools, community agencies, and parent organizations to help give every child the opportunity to have a successful early learning experience.
We offer training to support every aspect of early development, including language and literacy, numeracy, sensory-motor skills, behavior and self-regulation. Our publications include best-selling children’s books on bullying and empathy, activity books for math and motor skill development, and professional books to support systems change and building an effective early learning initiative.
We offer long-term training contracts to school districts interested in using a competency based learning model for students in preschool through grade three. The Early Learning Success Initiative is research-proven to dramatically improve student learning outcomes, can be developed for use with any high quality curriculum and instructional materials, and can be used in affluent communities, or with students living in poverty.
Bob Sornson, Ph.D. is the founder of the Early Learning Foundation. He is a best-selling author and international speaker, trainer, and consultant.
As a teacher and school administrator, Bob recognized the importance of early learning success in the development of patterns of learning success which affect students for life. In Northville, MI he developed a model which decreased the need for special education placement and saved millions of dollars each year for the district. After founding the Early Learning Foundation in 2001, he developed a comprehensive early learning success model which includes identifying essential skills in each of the domains of early childhood, systematically measuring progress towards competency, and giving each child the time and instruction to develop essential skills.
The Early Learning Success Initiative begins by identifying essential early learning outcomes in each domain of early childhood. We help teachers learn to systematically measure progress toward these outcomes. We help teachers learn to give each child the time and instruction needed to become fully competent in each crucial outcome. By achieving competency in these skills, students have a real chance to become successful lifelong learners who can learn and compete in the information age.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 66% of American children are scoring below proficient reading levels at the beginning of fourth grade. 83% of children in low-income families (Hernandez, 2011) have reading skills below the proficient level. We are allowing the vast majority of our kids to disengage from learning, which severely diminishes their chances for economic and social success.
One of our sites of practice exemplifies the turn-around that is possible for many schools. Simpson Central School is a rural school in Pinola, MS with approximately 500 students from 20 small surrounding communities. It is a Title I school, with 77% of the students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. In 2008-09 only 24% of students achieved Proficient status in language arts on the MCT2 state standardized test, and only 6% were rated as Advanced. In May of 2012, the first class of students who benefited from the Early Learning Success Initiative at Simpson Central School since Kindergarten took the MCT2 at the end of their third grade year. 53% achieved Proficient status and 29 were rated Advanced. Overall, 82% were proficient or advanced in language arts.
The Early Learning Success Initiative seeks districts, consortia, or foundations with leadership that is ready to redesign the delivery of instruction from curriculum-driven to competency based in the early years of school. We design training to meet the needs of individual organizations, and give a free license to use the Essential Skill Inventories to participating schools.
Preschools and elementary schools are potential users of the very simple methodology used to identify essential early learning outcomes, systematically track progress, and help teachers learn to give each student the time and instruction needed to develop competency in each skill. The Essential Skill Inventory can be used with any high-quality curriculum or instructional materials. Any school that wants to offer instruction that meets the specific needs of each child can benefit from this system of assessment which leads to high quality instruction.
Students who are non-proficient readers and mathematicians at the end of third grade are likely to remain unsuccessful learners for life. By helping most students, from any economic background, become successful in the early years we increase the rates of long-term learning success, decrease rates of criminal and dangerous behaviors, and improve the future for our children and for society. The Early Learning Success Initiative has proven that the cycle of poor performance can be broken. We are dedicated to working with schools and parents so that every child can have the experience of early learning success, which is the necessary foundation for a life of learning and success.