Spotlight: Prepared for Kindergarten

In order to be kindergarten-ready, young children need quality early education, strong relationships with families, a safe and secure home environment and regular health and developmental screenings and support.

April 2019 – United Way’s Steps to Success framework focuses on nine critical milestones on the path to prosperity. This month, we are focusing on the Prepared for Kindergarten Step.

We had experts in our region talk about each indicator and why it is so critical to being kindergarten ready. By zeroing in on the data behind each Step, we are better able to both empower individuals and address systemic problems to provide everyone with a clear path to success.

Early Childhood Education

Quality early childhood education has a major impact on a child’s physical, social and cognitive development and helps them prepare for the kindergarten classroom.

Shelia Pleasants
Director of Resource Development 
United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg

Let’s Talk: Shelia Pleasants

United Way’s Shelia Pleasants spent 14 years running an early childhood education program in Richmond. Read her thoughts on this important topic.

About the Data

Research has consistently shown that quality early childhood education has a major impact on a child’s overall development and increases their chances of success in the classroom and in life. While these benefits continue throughout a child’s education, they are particularly important during the transition to kindergarten.

View the data

Health Insurance

If a young child is not receiving appropriate medical care and is not healthy, it is difficult—if not impossible—for that child to be prepared for kindergarten.

Let’s Talk: Margaret Nimmo Holland

We interviewed Margaret Nimmo Holland, Executive Director of Voices for Virginia’s Children, to learn more about this important issue. Read the interview.

About the Data

Studies have shown that children without health insurance often receive less medical care and have worse health outcomes than children with insurance. If a young child is not receiving appropriate medical care and is not healthy, it is difficult—if not impossible—for that child to be prepared for kindergarten.

View the data

Early Intervention Programs

As with any health concern, developmental delays or disabilities in young children can be more effectively treated the earlier they’re detected.

Let’s Talk: John Walker

United Way proudly supports SOAR365, which helps individuals and families coping with the challenges of living with a disability. We talked to their President & CEO, John Walker, about early intervention programs for young children. Read the interview.

About the Data

As with any health concern, developmental delays or disabilities in young children can be more effectively treated the earlier they’re detected. Recent estimates are that 15% of children ages 3-17 in the United States have a developmental disability.

View the data

PALS-K

Fall PALS-K benchmarks help schools identify kindergarten students who are performing below developmentally appropriate levels on fundamental literacy skills and need additional instruction.

Let’s Talk: Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond

Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond shared what PALS-K is and what it tells us about school readiness. Read the article.

About the Data

PALS-K stands for Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Kindergarten. Fall PALS-K benchmarks help schools identify kindergarten students who are performing below developmentally appropriate levels on fundamental literacy skills and need additional instruction.

View the data