The Ready School

Early childhood education and care programs and elementary schools support children’s smooth transition to kindergarten and early elementary. Children’s opportunity for high-quality early learning environments and experiences prior to kindergarten entry may increase their ability to be more successful in kindergarten. Early learning programs and child care that work in partnership with schools help support this transition for children and families.

Schools must be prepared to support the kindergarten entry of children and families who come from many different cultures, as well as a wide variety of early childhood education programs. Programs may include: Head Start; private or faith-based child care; family, friend and neighbor care; or in-home learning experiences provided by parents or others.

The readiness of schools to receive and meet their young learners’ needs plays a critical role in the optimum success of children’s transition to kindergarten and beyond.

Ready schools and early care and education programs:
  • Deliver evidence-based instruction by ensuring their teachers and staff are trained to deliver explicit, systematic, evidence-based instruction that is developmentally appropriate for young learners;
  • Align policies; practices and curriculum prekindergarten through third grade to establish coherence and continuity so instruction builds on prior learning.
  • Foster relationships with families as a partner in their children’s education with a focus on family strengths, and link children and their families to information, family/school events and family/community liaisons who can help them navigate and understand the kindergarten and school that they are entering.
  • Form collaborative relationships  with other community partners involved in supporting young children’s lives prior to and after kindergarten enrollment (for example, local public health, Head Start, county services, libraries, community cultural organizations).
  • Understand and respond to all children’s individual strengths, needs and differences, because children arrive at kindergarten with a wide range of experiences, skills and competencies, including children with special needs and children who are multi-lingual learners.
  • Work with early learning programs, community programs and services, and families in their communities to provide a seamless transition to kindergarten for children and their families;
  • Employ well-trained leaders, teachers and staff and ensure they have resources to provide effective, age-appropriate learning experiences.
  • Meet the unique learning needs of their enrolling young learners by creating classrooms that are age-appropriate and engaging and use evidence-based practices for  all children in kindergarten and early elementary.
  • Provide instruction that engages children, builds on their prior learning and is based on how young students learn best.
  • Employ teachers who resemble the children in their classrooms.
  • Ensure the leaders, teachers and staff are culturally responsive and take into account individual differences in language, culture and prior experiences.
  • Provide information, resources and supports to address diverse needs of students including education services, health and mental health services, and other social services.
  • Create a welcoming and supportive environment for all children and their families.