Somersworth Early Childhood Coalition
Mission: To improve early childhood development, ensure language development, and support family engagement to promote school readiness for all children to succeed
The Somersworth Ready Together (SRT) is guided by the premise that all families want their children to succeed in school and that the strength and resiliency of any community is built upon and reflected by the healthy development of each generation of children. The work of the SRT is supported by its dedicated membership, a primary partnership with the United Way of the Greater Seacoast and funding from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundaiton.
A small city of 11,765 residents, Somersworth has been strengthened through a more vibrant downtown and an optimistic vision for the future. This vision includes the development of schools as community centers and a downtown that is culturally and socially energized. Still, data suggests that there are great needs for families. The number of families living below the poverty level is 15.1%; higher than the county average of 11.2%. For school aged children, 46.6% are eligible for free or reduced lunch which is significantly higher than the state average of 28.3%. The percentage of Somersworth students who have scored below the developmental range associated with early reading success cited by PALS is 44%.
When we create strong foundations for the brain’s future growth, invest in early experiences that maximize serve and return interactions, and reduce toxic stress, we are building the kind of system that makes sure all of our children and their families are healthy and growing now and in the future.
We know what works. We simply have to close the gap between what we know and what we do. Through multiple community conversations SRT has identified ways that the Somersworth community can support positive early learning experiences, good health, and strong families.
Through an inclusive approach the SRT aims to engage all families of the 832 young children in Somersworth between the ages of 0-5 and those who support them as partners. Engagement happens when relationships are fostered, trust is built and an excitement for learning is created.
The goals of the SRT are:
- To promote a trusting community that values and supports families to ensure that all children entering kindergarten are ready to learn.
- With cultural sensitivity, to provide all families with accessible knowledge, tools and resources needed to support the development of their children.
Liz Belsito, Coordinator
United Way of the Greater Seacoast