Approximately 11,000 Bridgeport families have children birth to eight. While these families have numerous strengths, many also face challenges that affect their ability to prepare their children for success. There are many challenges facing families.
Racial and ethnic minorities in Bridgeport bear an uneven share of these burdens. In the presence of these challenges, children face greater risks of poor health, delayed development and low educational achievement.
This is where the work of the Bridgeport Alliance for Young Children comes in.
What is BAYC
The Bridgeport Alliance for Young Children (BAYC), convened by United Way, the City of Bridgeport and Bridgeport Public Schools, is the city’s early childhood collaborative comprised of parents and providers and more than 150 active volunteers. BAYC works with families and the greater community to ensure access to quality early care, as well as education and health services for all children, birth to age eight.
Goals and Strategies for Success
The Alliance has identified Grade Level Reading as the benchmark for changing the curve for Bridgeport’s children.
Until third grade children are learning how to read and by the end of third grade, children are expected to use reading to learn.
If they cannot read proficiently, they will not be able to read their textbooks, solve math word problems or excel in language arts. In 2013, 60% of third grade children were reading at basic, or below, according to the state Mastery Tests. Essentially, 60% of the children moving on to the fourth grade were unable to read.
The literacy gap begins long before third grade, and even as far back as before kindergarten.
By age two, children in poverty are showing delays of six months or more in vocabulary. By age four, Bridgeport’s Head Start children are showing delays of two years or more with only 14% demonstrating age appropriate language skills.
To change the curve, children must be ready for kindergarten. The Bridgeport Alliance for Young Children -- under the care of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County -- has identified four strategies for changing the outcomes for children.
The goal is that all parents and caregivers will be empowered with information, family-centered, family- driven support and skills needed to ensure that they are their children’s first and most effective teacher.
More About BAYC