GOAL 1: Kindergarten Readiness
The skills children gain before kindergarten can have an immense impact on their ability to succeed throughout school. In fact, children who enter school ready to learn are more likely to read on grade level by the third grade, thrive in middle school math, and graduate from high school. The Kindergarten Readiness Network works to ensure every child in Alamance County has access to strong community and family supports before kindergarten — supports that build a child’s brain architecture and set children on a path to success.
The Kindergarten Readiness Network
A cross-sector group of community partners came together in 2016 to form the Alamance Achieves Kindergarten Readiness Network. With the goal of increasing the number of children who are ready to succeed in school, they work together to analyze data, align resources, and design and test solutions.
Increase access to community supports that promote readiness
Children thrive when they have access to a grid of community resources such as museums, parks, health care providers, faith communities and libraries. Network members are currently engaging families with young children to understand how they navigate the existing system of community supports and resources in Alamance County, with a goal of finding more opportunities and creating new pathways that ensure all families and children access our county’s grid of resources.
Increase understanding of kindergarten readiness
We know that 80% of a child’s brain is formed before they begin school — and actually grows fastest before the age of 3. However, it can be difficult to know how to support that development. The network is working to increase awareness of what it means to be kindergarten ready, and how we as a community — including families, community organizations and local businesses — can promote healthy brain development in children 0 to 5.
Increase access to high-quality early education experiences
Early education experiences help build strong brain architecture, setting children up for success in kindergarten — and throughout school. Alamance County has a strong community of early educators. However, many families are unable to access the lifelong benefits of preschool settings due to cost or long waitlists. In partnership with community experts, the network has a goal of helping to increase access to affordable, high-quality early education.
ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR
Kindergarten Readiness Definition
In 2017, partners from Alamance-Burlington School System and Elon University crafted Alamance County’s first universal definition for kindergarten readiness:
“Kindergarten readiness is a critical stage of early development in the areas of social, emotional, academic and motor skills that enable a child to engage in and be empowered by school-based learning experiences.”
In response to the need to measure kindergarten readiness rates using the new definition, the school system redesigned its Kindergarten Screener. A pilot of that screener was launched in fall 2018.
A kindergarten teacher at Highland Elementary piloted a program to help children and families with the transition into kindergarten. Based on its promising results, Duke Energy funded two additional pilots of Ready Freddy, enabling the program to expand to children across Alamance County.
In true collective impact, the next two pilots are a collaboration between school system teachers, administrators and principals; the network; the Children’s Museum of Alamance County; and the Women’s League.
One pilot has already launched at the Children’s Museum, and the next will launch at Grove Park Elementary in the fall of 2019.
The Kindergarten Readiness Network in Action
Factors that indicate whether a child is ready to enter kindergarten include:
Access to high-quality pre-k and/or licensed and regulated childcare
Childcare subsidy wait list
Percent of children identified with special needs receiving early intervention or special education services
Birth outcomes and number of mothers who received timely prenatal care
Number of children, aged 0-5, enrolled in specialized programs