This month’s March into Kindergarten campaign has us thinking about the importance of preparing students for success in kindergarten. Kindergarten is an academic and developmental milestone for young children and their experience in this early step can have major implications for their future development, even into adulthood.
There’s a lot that goes into a successful transition into kindergarten. For children who will enter kindergarten in the coming academic year, early registration with their school is crucial. Though the new school year seems far away in March, springtime registration helps students, families and schools plan for the start of classes in the fall.
Preparing children for a successful transition into kindergarten begins long before they are ready to enroll in school. Ninety percent of a child’s brain capacity develops before age five. And it’s not just vocabulary – those first five years are essential to social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. Quality preschool programs nurture healthy development in these foundational years, and help to prepare students for a successful start in kindergarten.
Unfortunately, many Cleveland students are already behind before they step foot into their kindergarten classroom. 84% of children entering the Cleveland Metropolitan School District do not meet kindergarten readiness standards. Why? Nearly 80% of these kids live in poverty and only two of ten are enrolled in high-quality preschool programs. It’s an uphill battle for these students, but early intervention can help them catch up.
That’s why we support programs like PRE4CLE, part of the Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools, which aims to make quality preschool accessible and affordable. At the start of the 2015-2016 school year, PRE4CLE added 1,200 seats in quality preschools for young Clevelanders. 750 of these seats came from boosting the quality of existing preschool programs. PRE4CLE is well on its way to accomplishing its goal of creating an additional 2,000 high-quality preschool seats by fall of 2016, nearly doubling the number since the program launched in 2014.
More students in high-quality preschool programs means more students who are better prepared, mentally and emotionally, for kindergarten. More springtime kindergarten registrations means families and schools are better prepared to support these students in their first year of school.
By promoting high quality preschool opportunities as well as timely school registration, we can help our youngest citizens get a solid start to their academic careers and personal development. Learn more about our commitment to early education: http://bit.ly/1RB4g6J.