April 28, 2011

News Release

For Immediate Release

Commission for Children Announces Kindergarten Readiness Results

"Are we adequately preparing our children to enter school ready to learn, armed with the necessary skills needed to succeed?" The Mayor's Commission for Children announces results of a follow-up kindergarten readiness study for the local area which addresses this question.

The "Readiness for Kindergarten II" study reflects the social, emotional and academic readiness of incoming kindergartners during fall 2010 in four Greene County school districts - Fair Grove, Republic, Strafford, and Springfield. It compares findings to the readiness baseline established in the initial 2006 study that involved nine area districts.

Aggregate results from all districts indicate area readiness levels did not change significantly from 2006 to 2010. About 20% of our local children continue to start school lacking the skills to succeed. Research states that up to 50% of the deficit in school achievement scores can be attributed to gaps already evident at the time of kindergarten.

The study shows a slight improvement in social and emotional (S&E) skill readiness indicating children are better prepared to share, take turns, follow instructions, control tempers, make friends, etc. When children have higher S&E skills, classrooms become a more favorable learning environment. Since the 2006 study, there has been a concerted effort by the entire early childhood community to integrate S&E skill building exercises into preschool/daycare settings and educate parents about the importance of preparing children to start school ready to learn.

Academic readiness scores, as measured by the DIAL-3 assessment tool, remained about the same (in the low 70's). Girls are better prepared than boys. Results also support previous findings that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds (free-reduced lunch participation), as well as those who do not attend some type of quality pre-school experience, tend to be less prepared to start school.

The study was administered by the MSU Center for Research and Service and the Mayor's Commission for Children. The 2010 results as well as the initial 2006 study can be found at www.redwagonkids.net.

For more information contact:
Denise Bredfeldt, Mayor's Commission for Children, Exec Director, (417-864-1656)
Dr. Dave Dixon, MSU study author (417-836-5595)
Dr. Melissa Fallone, MSU study author (417-836-6528)

For individual school district comments, please contact the following:
Dr. John Link, Fair Grove District (417-759-2233)
Dr. Vern Minor, Republic District (417-732-3605)
Ms. Teresa Bledsoe, Springfield District PIO (417-523-0117)
Dr. John Collins, Strafford District (417-736-7000)

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