Two Boys in Front of School

DRIVE data fuels real-time change in early childhood programming

DRIVE fine motor skills kit picDRIVE, our new partnership with the PEVC industry, is already making a difference to early childhood programs in Boston and more importantly, the children and families they serve. 

Led by the Private Equity/Venture Capital Leadership Council, Data & Resources Investing in Vital Early Education (DRIVE) is a collaboration between United Way, Thrive in 5, and a growing number of community-based organizations in Boston.  Using trained parent screeners, this groundbreaking new effort identifies infants, toddlers and preschoolers who are most-at-risk of falling behind and connects them to early intervention services.

Each program also receives a unique data report that highlights the results of children they serve.  The report includes the percent of children in their program who are developing on track in the five key data elements that are linked the predicative indicators of a child’s developmental progress and well-being: gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem solving and social-emotional skills.  And while the DRIVE data is helping to connect individual children with delays to needed services, it is also being used by staff to increase the number of children developing on track at a program level.

“It’s exciting to see that early education programs are able to strengthen their understanding of their students and make real-life adjustments to curriculum and programming based on demonstrated need,” says Sunindiya Bhalla, who oversees the DRIVE program at United Way.

United Way provided individualized program profiles to 23 community partners this past summer. As a result:

  • The DRIVE data report provided to the Dorchester Family Engagement Network showed that their program had a higher percentage of children experiencing delays in their fine motor skills.  As a result, the staff created “Fine Motor Kits” to give to parents and began hosting Saturday morning “Fine Motor Fun” sessions with children and parents.
  • Family Nurturing Center in Allston-Brighton now focuses on one of the five indicators each week during their Baby playgroups.
  • College Bound Dorchester plans to hold family nights focused on a particular developmental area that provide families with strategies to support development in that area at home.

For more information on DRIVE, visit