Research has shown that children prepared for Kindergarten are prepared to succeed in school and life.
In fact, a child’s use of vocabulary at age 3 is a direct predictor of how the child will use words at ages 9 and 10 (Ohio Business Roundtable, The Talent Challenge, 2010). Sadly, Ohio’s children in general and Elyria’s children, specifically, are falling significantly behind their peers in Kindergarten readiness. This can be attributed, in part, to the significant levels of poverty faced by Elyria children.
In the Elyria City School District, 63% of the children qualify as economically disadvantaged (Elyria City School District 2009-2010 School Year Report Card). The race/ethnicity demographics for the school district are as follows: the children are 60% White, 22% Black, 11% multi-racial and 4% Hispanic (Elyria City School District 2009-2010 School Year Report Card).
The direct correlation between poverty and not being ready for Kindergarten is demonstrated in the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Literacy or KRA-L.
The 2007 individual district average KRA-L score (Elyria 17.53) were below the 19.73 state average score for 2007 (Summary of State Results, Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Literacy (KRA-L), Elyria/State of Ohio) Further, Elyria issued assessments reveal that 50% of children entering kindergarten are defined as at risk and require additional intervention than those who score in the “average” or “enrichment” range.
Investing in quality Kindergarten readiness programming pays off.
While less than 2% of our public expenditures are for the youngest learners, “…research has demonstrated that every dollar invested in early childhood education produces a 10 percent per annum return on investment – far exceeding returns on later interventions – such as reduced pupil-teacher ratios, public job training, convict rehabilitation programs, adult literacy programs and tuition subsidies” (Ohio Business Roundtable, The Talent Challenge, 2010). Quality preschool includes Head Start and centers rated minimally with 1 star under SUTQ and ODE licensed preschools (ODE and ODJFS Websites, Child Care Listing). Research shows that participation in such quality program significantly improves early literacy, language and math skills while at the same time reducing the number of children retained by up to 36% and reducing the need for special education services by nearly 50% (Ohio Business Roundtable, The Talent Challenge, 2010). The benefits of quality Pre-Kindergarten programs do not end at the time of graduation. In fact, they lead to higher rates of employment and higher earnings along with a reduction in crime and use of public assistance (Ohio Business Roundtable, The Talent Challenge, 2010).
Ready Set Go…to Kindergarten seeks to address these disparities.
RSG is a community collaboration of early childhood education providers who are working together to improve and expand quality preschool experiences for the children of Elyria. With the support of the Elyria City School District, RSG seeks to ensure Kindergarten readiness for children enrolled in an RSG participating provider.
This is accomplished through:
- ongoing professional development;
- alignment to the State of Ohio Preschool Standards;
- improvements to quality by aligning with the Step Up to Quality two star rating requirements;
- improvements to curriculum design and compliance;
- improved communication between the early childhood education community and the school district;
- purposeful transition planning, including use of the Traveling to Kindergarten document, to help children successfully move into Kindergarten.
Interested in learning more about early childhood education?
View the links below: