Kindergarten readiness isn't based on age; it's a set of skills
Children who start kindergarten with grade-level skills (the skills of a typical 5-year-old) or higher are ready for a successful and satisfying education. They start ahead and stay ahead.
A child’s learning from birth to age 5 determines his or her kindergarten starting point. When students score low on entering kindergarten assessments, it rarely reflects their intelligence but rather opportunities during their earliest learning years. It is in those years that the readiness gap, or the preparation gap before kindergarten is created.
A child's skills on day one of kindergarten matters!
Children do not start school with the same language and literacy skills. Research shows, out of every 10 children, two enter kindergarten with abilities two-to-three years below grade level, two enter one year behind, and two enter at grade level. The top four children will start with skills one-to-two years above grade level.
Most parents believe children who start behind will catch up within a year or two – but that is not the reality. Students who are one-to-three years behind typically make a year’s worth of growth each year, just like all students. The bad news is, they are still one-to-three years behind their grade level.
Closing a learning gap once a child begins school is costly and difficult because the child needs to achieve their typical year of academic growth plus another year of growth to catch up by even a single level. The data is clear. All children can and will improve, but most will never catch up to their classmates. And this has a lifelong impact.
The first five years impact
The good news is there is something you can do about it. From the time a child is born until age 5, home is the easiest place to position a child’s academic trajectory. Children who begin school ready will have a rewarding education.
Communities, schools, caregivers, and parents, we all have a role to ensure children are ready for school on day one.