Earlier this year, Kentucky released results of screeners meant to show what percentage of this year’s kindergartners entered with the skills needed for school.
The results showed vast differences in “kindergarten readiness” in children coming from Louisville’s many neighborhoods.
Now, Jefferson County Public Schools is focusing on the areas where large percentages of kindergartners were deemed unready for school in a bid to improve those numbers in the future. These kindergarten readiness workshops are free and open to anyone, but focus will be on parents, guardians and child care facilities in those parts of Louisville.
Kevin Nix, the director of JCPS’ Early Childhood Education program, said the workshops aim to provide the resources families need to ensure each child is on track to have the basic skills necessary to be prepared for the first years of school.
Those skills include the ability to count to 30, speak in five or six word sentences and an understanding of how books work. To see a complete diagram of what goes into being ready for kindergarten, click here.
As WFPL previously reported, just more than half of JCPS kindergarteners entered school ready.
In four years, Nix said, JCPS officials would like to see that number boosted to 75 percent.
“We would like to be higher, but that’s our goal,” Nix said.
Nearly 65 percent of kindergarten students in some Jefferson County zip codes are currently under-prepared, according to data provided by JCPS. In others, only 11 percent of students need more support to be kindergarten ready.
Here’s a breakdown of readiness level by zip code.
Nix said he doesn’t know why some areas have lower rates of readiness.
“Possibly it is a lack of information available,” he said. “Everybody wants to do the right thing by their child, it’s just sometimes we don’t know what the right thing is.”
The workshops look to provide that information, he said.
Nix said being prepared for kindergarten is not determined by socioeconomic status or demographic.
“You don’t have to be wealthy to do this, you don’t have to have a college degree,” he said. “Anybody can concertedly cultivate your child, and all concerted cultivation means is intentionally preparing your child for life.”
Some parents, Nix said, may think they are unable to provide the learning resources their child needs, but that is not always the case.
“You can go out and count acorns in the yard, it serves the same purpose and your child is going to learn the same,” he said.
Nix said the workshops will give parents and caregivers ideas for games and other activities that engage children and bolster their readiness.
“Our target audience is parents or guardians of kids who are not in our program and child care providers in the area,” he said. “What we are trying to do is share some information in a very fun way with people in the area that they can take home and use with their own children.”
A workshop held earlier this week at St. Stephen’s Church on South 15th Street focused on students and families within the 40210 zip code.
A date and location have yet to be set for the final workshop that will focus on the 40212 zip code, where 62 percent of kindergarten students are deemed to be in need of additional support to be ready for school.