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March 25, 2014

Impact Spotlight: Children Prepared for Kindergarten

One of our highest priorities is to ensure children arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed. It is one of our region's education Bold Goals:
 
Bold Goals for Education

At a March Impact Spotlight, we brought together a panel of experts to answer the questions: Are we ready? Can we make this Bold Goal a reality?

The discussion focused on the current state of kindergarten readiness: research, what's happening now, and what remains to be done by 2020. And while a lot has been accomplished, there is still more to be done.

90% of the brain’s growth occurs before age 5, but we are spending 90% of our education dollars after that.


Elaine Ward, Kelly Bigham and Margaret ClarkStephanie Byrd, executive director, United Way Success By 6®, moderated a panel with (l-r) Elaine Ward, COO, 4C; Kelly Bigham,  program master, Promoting Resilient Children; and Margaret Clark, senior director, Every Child Succeeds. 
 

Children start learning at birth, and the foundation for future learning is laid in the first few years of life and is dependent, in large part, on early interactions with caregivers. Children living in poverty may come to school at least two years behind their peers in pre-reading skills. By the end of third grade, a child’s grades and absenteeism rates can foreshadow with 80% accuracy whether he or she will complete high school. 

That’s why we’ve implemented strategies focused on the early years where return on investment is strongest:

  • Best practice home visiting – trained home visitors bring child development guidance, hands-on assistance and support right to the family’s front door 

  • Quality early childhood education – a significant number of children spend their preschool years in care outside of their own homes, so it’s imperative that these settings maintain quality standards

  • Social/emotional readiness – resiliency to ‘bounce back’ from difficult situations, work well with other children and bond with trusted adults improves a child’s outlook and school performance

Our vision is that all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed, meet critical milestones, navigate adolescence successfully, and graduate from high school prepared for their next step in life. Each one of us has the power to create this lasting change in our community.

Sign up for our Advocacy Network and be alerted about issues concerning early childhood education. Your voice can help improve the chances a child enters kindergarten ready to succeed.


More about United Way Impact Spotlight: This series provides compelling information about how your investment is driving change in the community.  We invite Tocqueville, Cincinnatus and Roebling Societies to this lunch-time format to dialogue about critical points and discover ways to get more involved in areas you are passionate about.  If you would like to learn more, contact Alana Nodell at 513-762-7194.