Effective Systems

Building the Foundation for Bright Futures


The first years of life are a critical time for development of the foundational skills and competencies that children will need for success in school and in life. Too often, children who enter their kindergarten classroom without these skills and competencies start behind and stay behind. Fortunately, early intervention and supports can help close the gap before it starts to widen. Investments in young children yield high returns and are the best strategy for improving children’s odds for a bright future. 

The National Governors Association Task Force on School Readiness sought to identify actions that governors and states can take to support families, schools, and communities in their efforts to ensure that all children start school ready to reach their full potential. The task force adopted a framework for school readiness that incorporates the elements of ready schools, ready communities, ready families, and ready children. It also added a newly emerging element, ready states, which refers to the state systems and infrastructure that support the other elements of the framework. Guiding the recommendations included in this report are core principles on which the task force agreed. The recommendations are based on a review of available research and of strategies, activities, or approaches that have proven effective in attaining intended outcomes. Governors are encouraged to consider the suggested options for what states can do to promote school readiness and select those that best match their state’s needs, resources, and priorities.