School Readiness is a public school program for 3 to 5 year-old children and their families in Minnesota. School Readiness provides children with various opportunities to participate in early childhood programs that enable them to enter school with the skills and behaviors needed for them to progress and flourish.
School Readiness matches a wide variety of services with the needs of participating children. Local programs strengthen and build upon existing services and resources to meet the health, nutrition, education, and social service needs of children in order to enhance their learning, development, and future success in school. It has been cited as a high quality early childhood program by Child Trends, a national research organization.*SR information from the Minnesota Department of Education
What happens in School Readiness?
Our School Readiness programs include the following:
• A child development and learning component, with a pretest and posttest, which is called the Preschool Learning Guide;
• A nutrition component;
• Parent involvement;
• Cooperative efforts with ESL and Adult Basic Education;
• Community outreach; and
• Community-based staff and program resources.
School Readiness programs recognize that all children do not need identical services, but share a common base: learning experiences must be developmentally appropriate and an integral part of the child’s day. Resources follow the child and learning opportunities are provided in a variety of settings as close to home as possible.
Each program has an advisory council which helps match school readiness services to community needs. Participating parents and service providers make up the advisory council.
Who Participates in School Readiness?
Children who are 3 years-old and not yet in kindergarten are eligible for School Readiness. Participation is voluntary and scholarships are available for qualifying families. Extensive coordination among community programs and services, parents, policymakers and others is required to assure that children identified through Early Childhood Screening as having the greatest needs receive the most intensive and extensive services.
Why is Early Education Important?
Evidence on the significance of the first years of life is well established and continues to expand. The 2000 National Research Council and Institute of Medicine publication, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, documents the advances in various science fields that profoundly increase this understanding of rapid child growth and development during the early years. According to the authors, it is the environmental influences, as well as genetics, that impact subsequent outcomes for children. The report concludes that high quality early childhood programs or experiences matter and can positively influence future development.
Why Involve Parents?
Parents are the best advocates for their children. Through School Readiness, parents are considered full partners in their child’s development and learning. Research shows that early childhood programs involving both parents and children are more effective than programs that focus exclusively on the child. Involving families prior to kindergarten encourages parents to play an active role in their children’s learning in the elementary years and beyond. Children whose parents create a home environment that encourages learning and who are involved in their children’s education are more successful in school.
How is it Funded and What Does it Cost?
State funding for School Readiness was first made available to Minnesota school districts in 1991. In 2001, 20.7 million in state funding was allocated for School Readiness for the 2002-2003 biennium. School district plans for School Readiness are reviewed by two state agencies every other year before state funds are made available for local implementation. Local and Federal funds are tapped as in-kind contributions to enhance the state dollars providing School Readiness.
Who Benefits From School Readiness?
When the outcome of School Readiness are achieved- the children entering school ready to learn and parents involved in their children’s learning and education- all of society benefits! The potential for early childhood programs such as School Readiness to prevent or reduce later learning problems of children is borne out by extensive research. Dollars spent on early education are more than repaid by savings in remedial costs during later school years. This early investment increases the effectiveness of the total investment society makes in education.
Our Mission Statement
The mission of Cambridge-Isanti District #911 School Readiness is to provide all eligible children opportunities to participate in early childhood programs that enable them to enter school with the skills, behaviors and family support necessary for them to progress and flourish. (This is also the Minnesota School Readiness mission.)
School Readiness provides scholarships to help families pay for preschool. Scholarships are awarded depending on financial need.