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Smart Start is Oklahoma's statewide early childhood initiative and serves as the state's Early Childhood Advisory Council. Smart Start Oklahoma seeks to provide better opportunities to the children and families in our state. Our mission is to lead Oklahoma in coordinating an early childhood system focused on strengthening families and school readiness for all children. We envision all Oklahoma children will be safe, healthy, eager to learn and ready to succeed by the time they enter school.
WHAT IS SCHOOL READINESS?
There are four key strategies that guide our efforts toward achieving our goal of giving Oklahoma's children a smart start.
COMMUNITY INITIATIVES: Helping children and families by leveraging local support and resources to meet identified needs.
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: Educating Oklahoma on the importance of the early years.
RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT: Committing resources at both the state and community level with increased public and private funding devoted to early childhood services.
PUBLIC POLICY: Improving public policies to support young children and their families.
School readiness is arriving at school with the knowledge, skills and physical and emotional health needed to successfully participate. It is evident that school readiness is more than just cognitive development. It includes having basic human needs such as food, shelter, and loving and nurturing relationships met so that children can focus on learning. Children develop at different paces, but experts agree that children are born ready to learn and have a "biological foundation" for certain kinds of knowledge acquisition (Winter, 2010, p. 4; Yang & Lust, 2009, p. 2).
However, what they learn varies widely as a result of their experiences.
Therefore, strong families, ready schools and active communities must work together to ensure all children are safe, healthy and eager to learn. All children deserve an equal opportunity for success in school and in life!