We are excited to report that five network partners contributed data on 383 pre-kindergarten children. This data enables us to generate our first ever baseline for kindergarten readiness. Having this data means network members can develop a shared perspective on what it means to be kindergarten ready and informs the kindergarten readiness of the children they serve.
Two years ago our Kindergarten Readiness Network convened and quickly realized they lacked a shared/common definition of what kindergarten readiness is and how to measure the success of their efforts. In addition, at a community level, these network partners had no way to communicate how well they were preparing children for their entry into the school environment. Subsequent to this realization, Cradle 2 Career (C2C) and network partners worked hard to develop a shared definition of kindergarten readiness and a consistent and common way to measure it.
Kindergarten readiness is a shared responsibility
Schools, families, and the community at large must equally support and respond to each child’s individual needs. This collaborative effort is critical because children arrive at kindergarten with a wide range of experiences, competencies, and abilities. Supporting readiness that is inclusive of each child’s skills and abilities at kindergarten entry informs future community and school programs, planning, and teaching efforts to ensure each child reaches their full potential.
When a child arrives at kindergarten, they should have the basic knowledge and skills across multiple development and learning areas and exhibit physical health and emotional well-being to the best of their ability. Children should demonstrate curiosity, have confidence in their ability to learn, and display multiple unique skills in general knowledge, language, cognition, and numeracy.
Measuring kindergarten readiness
As part of our population level strategy, the Cradle 2 Career Kindergarten Readiness Network has prioritized 21 indicators for our community. These indicators span the following areas: social emotional development, approaches to learning, language, literacy and communications, creativity and the arts, cognitive development, and physical and motor development.
Our network’s consensus is to measure kindergarten readiness by looking at each child’s achievement on these 21 indicators. This is a departure from a binary “ready or not-ready” perspective. A child could be kindergarten ready in one domain (like, social emotional development) and not kindergarten ready in another domain (like, creativity and the arts). This perspective is more holistic.
We also look at data on four year old children. This approach is a departure from looking at kindergarteners and re-focuses on students as they leave preschool, which is more aligned with our network membership.
Each of the five partners provided data on the children they serve. This data allows us to see, from a network perspective, where to align our support for children to best support their preparation for kindergarten
What comes next?
In next month’s network meeting, we plan to dive into the data and learn more about how it can help guide our work. There is a wealth of knowledge about readiness by domain. We need to understand whether our priorities align with what we see in the data.
For more information on the 21 indicators identified in this post, read the following blog post:
Over Half of 3 Year Olds Are Not Getting Early Childhood Screening at web address:
For information on the Minnesota Department Education kindergarten readiness, go to this web address: https://education.mn.gov/mde/fam/k/