READY FOR KINDERGARTEN
The early years are crucial - from birth to age five, brain development occurs at an astounding rate. Children are developing the fundamental skills and responses that build strong foundations for reading, counting and social interactions. Local and national studies indicate that parent engagement and early learning experiences are critical to a child’s future academic success, and that children who live in poverty are less likely to be prepared for school.
High Quality Pre-K Makes a Difference 2016 Policy Fact Sheet, thread
Alaska Pre-Kindergarten Program, Alaska Dept. of Education and Early Development Early Childhood Programs
Anchorage Data: % of Children Ready for Kindergarten
The Alaska Developmental Profile (ADP) is a state-mandated assessment given to all incoming kindergartners within the first four weeks of school to measure 13 indicators in five domains of early learning. A score of "0" (does not demonstrate), "1" (progressing) or "2" (consistently demonstrates) is given for each indicator. The 90% by 2020 Partnership selected a benchmark of a combination of "1's" and "2's" with at least one "2" and no "0's" as a measure of "ready for kindergarten," so a combined score of 20 or higher indicates kindergarten readiness.
Fall of 2016 data will be posted soon
The Kindergarten Ready Network has developed a strategy with enables them to work in areas that have the highest potential to make impact in a relatively short period of time. These areas have a significant number of children enter kindergarten each year, have a population that has at least 50% Economically Disadvantaged Students, has a significant population of English language learners, and has a large number of network partners working with the school, surrounding neighborhood and are a feeder program to the school. With these criteria, the network has equal focus on neighborhoods feeding into Mountain View, Fairview, Williwaw and William Tyson Elementary Schools.
Quality Early Care and Learning
When children attend high-quality early care and learning programs, they are more likely to be ready for kindergarten. In July 2016, Alaska launched its statewide quality recognition and improvement system (QRIS), called Learn & Grow. The Kindergarten Ready Network is currently exploring ways it could support the expansion and sustainability of Learn & Grow.
Managed by thread, Learn & Grow provides technical assistance and fiscal supports to early care and learning programs to help them do quality improvement activities while not shifting the cost onto families who struggle to afford child care. Learn & Grow is a voluntary program that allows programs to work at their own pace and determine what is feasible and reasonable for them to achieve with the resources they have available. Early care and learning programs are constantly working to overcome high rates of staff turn-over, low wages, and little funding to support education and professional development, all key components of quality.
In Learn & Grow, programs advance along 5 levels of quality, each with specific requirements in each of the four quality standards:
1. administration and leadership
2. staff and professional development
3. relationships and learning environment
4. family engagement
Many other states across the nation have instituted quality rating systems for early care and learning programs so that families can make informed choices. The Learn & Grow system is an important step toward that in Alaska. For more information on Learn & Grow, please see their website.
Family Engagement and Literacy
Families play the most crucial role in preparing kids for school. The events include the Anchorage School District’s Countdown to Kindergarten activities, which engage families with children aged 3 to 5. They teach children new skills and engage their parents in
learning how to play and interact with their kids at home in a way that continues to support learning. They also connect families to service providers that can further assist them in preparing their children for kindergarten.
Anchorage Imagination Library is part of a national program that sends age-appropriate books to kids 0 to 5. Having books in the home is shown to increase childhood literacy, which is a critical component of kindergarten readiness. Currently, about 45% of eligible children in the network’s target neighborhoods are enrolled in Imagination Library. Children are enrolled at family engagement events and through various community partners by setting up enrollment centers. Our goal is to enroll 200 more children in the target neighborhoods by June of 2017.
Partners: Alaska Literacy Program · Alyeska Pipeline · Anchorage Public Library · Anchorage School District · Best Beginnings · Boys and Girls Club · CCS Early Learning · Cook Inlet Native Head Start · Kids Corps Head Start · Programs for Infants and Children, Inc. · RurAL CAP · thread · United Way of Anchorage