Community Early Learning Survey

In April of 2018 the Early Learning Alliance Network conducted a limited survey focused on perspectives in our community as they relate to early learning. The following provides an overview of findings from this survey. Note that while participation was not at our target levels, data does demonstrate some need for further inquiry around early learning in our community. 

Outreach: The survey was disseminated through social media with targeted reach on parents and families in Fishers, Indiana.

Participants: There were 108 total respondents in the twelve-day period of data collection. The group providing the most input was parents (75%). However, as shown below, there was a cross section of feedback based on self-reported role in the community.

Respondents were asked to report their current home zip code. 33% of respondents were from 46037, 20% were from 46038, 15% from 46060, and the remaining 32% were from surrounding areas (ex: 46040, 46055, 46250, 46033, and 46256 zip codes).44% of respondents have lived in the Fishers/Hamilton County community more than 10 years, 27% from 5-10 years, 19% from 3-5 years, 8% from 1-3 years, and 1% 1 year or less. Note that individuals living in or working in Fishers were invited to respond.

Strengths in our Community: Participants were asked to identify the top three strengths in our community (from their perspective). The following provides an overview of findings

Our initial hypothesis was that due in part to the demographics of our community, the majority of respondents would identify “Most children have basic needs met and arrive at school ready to learn” as a strength. However, that was among the bottom six.

Challenges in our Community: Participants were asked to identify the top three challenges in our community (from their perspective). The following provides an overview of findings.

The focus on standardized testing in elementary has been a continual challenge facing our community throughout other data and outreach efforts of the Early Learning Alliance Network. Currently our schools engage in state data collection in 3rdgrade for iRead (the scores on this county wide are continuously above 90%). They also engage in progress measures using NWEA three times per year (fall, winter, spring) through a digital, adaptive testing system. Data from other Early Learning Alliance Network sources demonstrates that because NWEA begins in Kindergarten there are expectations/concerns from parents that (1) children be “ready” for these assessment before entering Kindergarten, (2) children be trained on how to use an iPad to complete NWEA without technical difficulty before Kindergarten, and (3) that iRead and NWEA reading scores are directly tied to early learning progress in individual reading levels of students.

Access to Early Learning Experiences in our Community: Participants were asked to rate access to early learning experiences in our community.

Quality of Early Learning Experiences in our Community: Participants were asked to rate access to early learning experiences in our community.

Observations of early learning/early childhood in other communities that should be happening in or available in our Community: Participants were asked to provide open-ended responses. Responses were coded based on general theme. In all, 14 themes emerged during analysis. The following provides an overview of frequencies related to those themes. 

Observations of challenges in working with, educating, and/or parenting children ages 0-8 in our Community: Participants were asked to provide open-ended responses. Responses were coded based on general theme. In all, 14 themes emerged during analysis. The following provides an overview of frequencies related to those themes. 

Concerns related to early learning/early childhood specific to individual situations:Participants were asked to provide open-ended responses. Reponses were coded based on general theme. In all, 11 themes emerged during analysis. The following provides an overview of frequencies related to those themes.  

Additional comments related to early learning/early childhood opportunities in our community: Participants were asked to provide open-ended responses. Reponses were coded based on general theme. In all, 10 themes emerged during analysis. The following provides an overview of frequencies related to those themes. 

The idea of indoor play spaces for young children was also evident in other Early Learning Alliance Network data sets. Currently, the indoor play opportunities in Fishers are most commonly noted as Conner Prairie (closed on Monday), SkyZone (closed on Monday), Bounce U (limited availability for ages 0-4, rotating schedules), the indoor play space at the Lutheran church (rotating schedules, but only free indoor play space in the city), and the library (limited participation due to registration). Most structured non-preschool, activities (gymnastics, dance, sports, music, etc.) targeted for children under five years old require weekly participation, member, and/or registration.

Current state data reflects that there are over 21,500 children ages 0-4 in Fishers. We have no comprehensive and accurate data around the number of children who participate in early learning, or the number of early learning/day care/pre-school providers in Fishers.

See the full report in our resource library.

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