Volumes of research illustrate how the first five years are a window especially ripe for creating healthy, happy and successful children. Over the past two decades a substantial collection of seminal work on the magic that occurs in these precious years have been disseminated across the nation in reports, website, editorials, books and research study findings (e.g. Neurons to Neighborhoods, Harvard’s Developing Child Center, National Early Literacy Panel, Thirty Million Words, etc.). Findings stretching from neuron formations and brain development, to the value of talking to children in meaningful conversation to build vocabulary, to supporting healthy eating habits that promote sustained healthy lifestyles have all contributed to the importance of these first five years. As a result, it is now well accepted that across the research, findings all point to the core notion that if we want to create circumstances for the most success in life, we must start in early childhood.
In a RAND Corporation blog post, Early Childhood Education Policy Researcher Heather L. Schwartz talks about early child school-readiness and narrowing the income achievement gap.
In the article, Heather states: “Given how early achievement gaps emerge in children’s lives, it is important to look within and beyond educational reforms that take place within the walls of K-12. Focusing on education policy, a good place to start is with sustaining the federal Department of Education’s focus on expanding preschool opportunities and supporting research to identify the critical elements of quality care and early education.”
During the first few months of the academic year many teachers and early educators are already starting to think about kindergarten. Kindergarten readiness, that is. Educators often ask themselves questions like, “Will my students be prepared for kindergarten?”, “How do I intervene with students who may need supplemental intervention to be ready for kindergarten?” and “Are my students on track to be successful in Kindergarten?” To address these types of questions, though, it’s important to understand what kindergarten readiness is, why it’s important, and how assessment can contribute to evaluating kindergarten readiness.