A Quarter of Kindergartners Lack Skills to Succeed in School

A Quarter of Kindergartners Lack Skills to Succeed in School
By: Amy Jacquin

Is your youngster ready to start school? A quarter of all kindergartners do not have the skills needed to be successful in school.

That's according to a new report released out of the University of California-Davis. The National School Readiness report titled "Getting Ready" looks at 17 states, including Missouri and Kentucky.

And in many cases, a child's lack of skills can be blamed on family life. But the study finds no correlation between readiness and family income.

"We're going to write a sentence, just like he did in his story," says Kindergarten teacher Jessica Pattengill.

Not all kindergartners are as well-prepared as the bunch currently at Blanchard Elementary in Cape Girardeau... nor as able to communicate effectively.

"And when my Mom's driving and the light is on, she knows the door is open," one student explains to Ms. Pattengill.

"That's exactly right," she praises.

"Children come in and a lot of times they haven't had any experiences with following directions," adds fellow teacher Mary Ann Lewis. "I think some of them have never had experiences with someone telling them 'no.'"

"Everyone's busy," Ms Pattengill further explains. "Life is busy. People are going here and there. It's hard to take time. It's so easy to sit children in front of the TV or video games and let them be the baby sitters. It's really affecting education."

The national school readiness report says a lack of self-control and self-confidence can slow-down the learning process.

"I have to be responsible," Mrs. Lewis gives examples. "I have to pick-up my things. I have to put things away. I have to clean-up after myself. For some, that's kind of a shock!"

"We're reading. We're writing," says Pattengill. "We're not just sitting in school playing. I'd love for them to come in knowing their letters and colors."

Kindergarten is more than just A,B,C's and 1,2,3's. It's about being able to communicate ideas and feelings. Reading to your children, and taking time to chat with them, can help youngsters develop skills necessary to be successful in school.

"Even if you're in the car driving to day care, talk to them," continues Pattengill. "Look at that tree. What color is it? What do you see in the road? Let's see if we can find the letter 'l' on the billboard along the highway."

Pattengill says reading to your children 15 minutes a day would make a tremendous impact in their education.

Start now to help your youngster accomplish the first of the three r's -- readiness.

The study was funded in part by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. You can get more information at www.GettingReady.org .