The School Readiness Network, which is made up of early child advocates including daycare providers and preschool and kindergarten teachers meets once a week and shares tips so those in attendance, can swap ideas with local childhood educators.
Nikki Reed, Reading Railroad programme coordinator, started the network this year.
She said it’s been a part of the Cass County Resource Network since 2011 and a yearlong process went into planning it.
Reed said Reading Railroad went through the programme management process in 2011 to see if programmes, like Begindergarten, were making an impact. Reed said they found they were making an impact, but there was a need for a school readiness initiative.
Begindergarten is a programme to help kindergarten students get a head start in being prepared for school.
“School readiness in the county is a problem,” Reed said. “Forty percent of children going into kindergarten are unprepared in Indiana. The number of children unprepared in Cass County is 60 percent.”
Reed said of the 257 students in Logansport’s kindergarten round-up, 96 students were unprepared and invited to attend Begindergarten. After the six-week programme, 73 percent of students raised from at-risk to adequately prepared. Since then, a lot of communities have called to find out what they are doing and it’s become a model programme, Reed said.
“In a lot of communities, school readiness is a new topic,” Reed said. “The network is a way to bridge gap between preschool and kindergarten teachers. What we’re doing here is developing these programmes so we are ahead.”
Through the awareness of the issue, the school readiness network was formed. Reed said when United Way kicked off the Cass County Resource Network, they identified community needs and early education was one of those needs. She said childcare and preschool became a task force and, from there, the school readiness network came about.
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