Superintendents and teachers have always known that children arrive at kindergarten with varying skills and abilities. And those children who arrive without the expected development are often challenged to catch up with their classmates. The Brigance kindergarten screen, now required in all 173 districts across Kentucky, indicates that nearly half of all students (more than 24,500 in 2014) enter school less than fully prepared to do kindergarten work. And yet school districts are obligated to meet the needs of all of their students. This lack of readiness for kindergarten poses a challenge for your district’s commitment to the long term academic success of students.
The task of getting more students ready for kindergarten has traditionally seemed beyond the scope of work for superintendents and school districts, but we now know that the challenge of universal kindergarten readiness is one that must be owned by the entire community.
The Superintendents’ Toolbox is designed to support your work as district leaders. It provides a basic roadmap and resources to help you better engage the early childhood community, work with families, and engage in successful partnerships that ensure children enter kindergarten prepared to learn and succeed.
The Superintendents Toolbox serves as a one-stop-shop for resources and tested strategies to build meaningful quality early learning opportunities for future students. The Toolbox will be a model to demonstrate how aligned roles and shared responsibility between families, schools, early care providers, and community partners can help improve outcomes for children beginning at birth.
Research shows that 90 percent of a child’s brain develops before age five. Therefore, children enter school with varied skills and knowledge based on their access to stimulating age-appropriate interactions in the earliest years of life. For many, kindergarten is too late to catch up with their peers. That is why giving superintendents the necessary tools to engage families and community partners around school readiness is an essential part of improving outcomes for children.