Ready for Kindergarten

Preparing a child for school doesn’t start the moment he or she walks into the kindergarten classroom. The preparations start the moment that child is born.

Students’ very first classroom is their home and daily environment. Their lessonsare the words they hear, the books they’vebeen read and the world they’re exposed to in their formative years. These essential elements build a foundation for learning thatbecomes unremittingly important to our youngest learners.

However, in Nebraska, 40 percent of children live in low-income households where the opportunity for this type of enriched, early learning may not always present itself to families struggling to make ends meet. As a result, the moment these students walk into that kindergarten classroom, they’re likely already behind their peers.

In recent years, the nation – and Nebraska specifically – has turned its attention to early childhood education. Research shows that high-quality programs for at-risk youth can determine whether a child graduates from high school or struggles and falls behind in his or her school career. For some, without the proper early foundation for learning, this could mean a difference between going to college or going to jail.

In Nebraska, we’ve learned that by investing in children early in their lifetime, these intentional early learning techniques impact the state and its next generation of citizens, yield instrumental return for the community and ultimately, reduce the gap in achievement for our at-risk students.

With input from civic leaders, community advocates, administrators, educators and parents across the state, “Ready for Kindergarten” explores what quality early childhood education looks like in Nebraska, its impact on the community and how programs provide resources for the state’s most at-risk children.


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