The key to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s goal of all children reading at grade level by the end of third grade is quality pre-Kindergarten programs, successful transitions from pre-K to kindergarten, and excellent communication between pre-K administrators and teachers and the schools that will be providing kindergarten to the children they serve. There is a disconnect between pre-K and kindergarten curriculum and the testing methods used to determine school readiness. To address this problem, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, in partnership with the School District of Manatee County and the Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County, is hosting a workshop on January 21, 2016, for representatives of each preschool that is a member of the Early Learning Coalition, Graduation Enhancement Technicians from every Title I school, Manatee County School Board members, teachers and administrators from Manatee County’s VPK programs, and other community leaders and key stakeholders.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said, “If you have a kid who goes to kindergarten and doesn’t know what a circle is, doesn’t know what red and green are, and doesn’t know what right and left are, by the time he learns those things, the rest of the class is far ahead of him.” Children who are not school ready often are victims of a lack of communication between preschools and public schools.
The three main goals of the workshop are to increase communication between preschool providers and the school district, increase understanding of key practices in tracking attendance, and increase understanding of the scope and reach of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
Similar workshops were held in northern and southern Sarasota County in October. Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading organizers and participants learned that the stronger the connective tissue built between preschools and the school system, the stronger chance that children will make a successful transition from preschool to kindergarten and the greater likelihood that all children will know left from right and red from green.