One of OKFutures' priorities is to increase parent awareness about the resources and supports available in Oklahoma's early childhood system. Specifically, OPSR will work with a communications firm on messaging that is relatable to and connects with all Oklahoma families. Additionally, in order to maximize parent choice, this grant will build community capacity by expanding existing parent education resources.
OPSR worked with Advocacy & Communication Solutions (ACS) to develop a communication and outreach strategy that targets rural families and ultimately increases these families’ knowledge about the importance of early childhood and resources that are available to them.
After completing a statewide messaging analysis, which is available in the document section below, ACS and OPSR conducted a two-day strategy session. During this meeting, OPSR worked through several of ACS' communication frameworks including network mapping and determing a structure for a champion strategy.
ACS then conducted an online survey (see more information below) and additional strategic sessions with OPSR while engaging with the Family & Community Engagement Team and relying on them for additional guidance and feedback.
In order to develop a communication and outreach strategy, OPSR worked with ACS to survey low-income families living in rural counties who have young children.
The purpose of this survey was to understand the following:
Advocacy and Communication Solutions used targeted partners to reach Oklahoma families and confirm impressions about persuasive messengers and messages. With 107 respondents, over two-thirds of respondents had a child between 0-4 years. In addition, approximately 78 percent of respondents were female. Key findings from this survey included identifying pediatricians/health care providers as the most trusted messenger by 84 respondents as well as the types of messages that respondents care about like how their child develops social and emotional skills.
In the future, OPSR would like to perform a more in-depth survey with a larger amount of respondents, but the information we've gained is still valuable to help us reach families with young children.
OPSR partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority to give parents a variety of early care and education opportunities for their children. The Public Library Family Engagement Project helps young children develop language and pre-reading skills. In addition, this project provides an early introducation to the library system and encourage access of Oklahoma libraries' technology and other valuable resources.
OPSR sought to grant public libraries funds to support new programs or expand existing infant-toddler library resources to equip families with knowledge and access to resources to support the development of their children. These projects provide greater opportunities for infants, toddlers, and their families to access crucial early childhood information in a welcome environment, to engage these families in rich learning resources tailored to their needs, and focus on outreach to families with infants and toddlers who are vulnerable or underserved to have equitable access to early literacy experiences.
Request for Proposal applications were due Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. Documents related to the RFP are below.
We're so excited to work with 29 awardees across the state, each of which are passionate about providing the best resources possible to young children and their families.
As part of OKFutures, OPSR worked with the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) to create an Oklahoma Early Childhood Transition Toolkit. This guide supports schools as they build positive, effective bridges into early elementary grades and ensure a continuum of learning across home, childcare, preschool and school.
Click here to access the Oklahoma Early Childhood Transition Toolkit.
Overall, the information in this toolkit offers guidance to districts, schools and sites around the state as they carefully consider how to support students and ensure they're ready to learn upon initial school entry. More specifically, the toolkit encompasses five key ways schools can support early learners and their families with positive transitions into early elementary grades, including:
Find everything you need to know about the work we're doing to maximize parent choice.