It may seem far off to think about college and career readiness for our children that are three and four years-old. However, research shows that the foundation for school readiness and future success begins prior to them starting school. In other words, we establish lifelong learning and academic success prior to kindergarten. Children that come from poor families on average are less ready for school. A recent study found that 48% of low income children possessed the readiness skills needed to be successful in kindergarten. That same study found that 75% of moderate to high income children were ready for kindergarten.
It proves to be difficult and becomes a losing battle if we do not correct these deficiencies at an early age. Another study found that only 1 out 10 students overcome their lack of readiness by the 8th grade. Students that are living in poverty and are not proficient in reading and math by the 3rd grade are three times more likes to drop out of high school. The early years are vital to the success of our children. We often spend most of our time trying to correct students at an older age. In my experience intervening this late in the game is often unsuccessful.
What can you do to prepare your child for school?
It is equally important to think about how you have been preparing your child at home. Do you make sure that you read to your children at an early age? Research suggests that it is beneficial to begin reading to your child when they are an infant. The more words and language they are exposed to prior to kindergarten the better. Do you model to your children by reading books of your own? Do dads participate in the reading process?
The state legislature this past year has allowed local districts to fund preschool for their communities. Rugby Public School District has partnered with Headstart to create the Rugby Early Learning Center. We will begin our first year of preschool this coming school year 2014-2015. We are hoping to provide free preschool to around 38 students ages three through five. Our priorities will focus primarily on students that are age four or students that are one year away from kindergarten. We are excited about this opportunity for all parents in Rugby and there will be more information to come.
ASCD article on preschool