As stated by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, “Effective preschool programs lay a foundation for children’s subsequent school success by imparting the varied knowledge, abilities and dispositions children need to succeed in school such as rich vocabulary and complex sentence structure, an understanding of story structure, self-regulation, cooperative play and abstract thinking” (“The Effects of the Arkansas Better Chance Program on Young Children’s School Readiness,” 2007, p. 5). The South Central Comprehensive Center (SC3) at the University of Oklahoma worked in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education on the Arkansas Early Childhood Commission Kindergarten Readiness Indicators Committee, which was tasked to review and revise the current indicators and to develop a common understanding of what it means to be “ready for kindergarten.” This committee also revised quality early childhood frameworks that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
The Arkansas Early Childhood Commission Kindergarten Readiness Indicators Committee has since completed the work on the Readiness Indicators and presented them to the Early Childhood Commission that will begin the development of materials to be distributed to parents of preschoolers in daycare and pre-K programs throughout the state. The committee includes the South Central Comprehensive Center, Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Better Chance Program, Arkansas Better Beginnings/University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services (Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education), Arkansas Head Start Collaboration, Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes, as well as assistant principals, practicing program directors, representatives from special education, English language learner programs, teachers, and a parent representative from Arkansas public schools.
The long-term goals are to increase statewide awareness of the need for quality preschool programs that will positively impact school readiness of all students and to establish a fully developed system to assure preschool children will transition to kindergarten successfully prepared to learn. For more information and resources, visit the South Central Comprehensive Center website at www.sc3ta.org.