Helping All Kids Start Ready for SchoolTwo five-year-olds are about to race to the edge of the playground. When they line up, one starts 20 feet in front of the other. Who will reach the finish line first? For some kids, this is what it is like to start kindergarten. They start school so far behind their peers, it’s hard to catch up.
Gaps in ReadinessAll kids are different. Some kids will already be able to cut construction paper on a straight line. Others will still be working on just holding the scissors. Some won’t know the differences between “b” and “d,” and some will have mastered the whole alphabet. Some will be great at sharing toys, while others will need a little more convincing to give their friend a turn with the red crayon. While some difference in capabilities is normal, there are certain literacy, numeracy, social-emotional, physical and linguistic skills and abilities that all kids need to be active participants in kindergarten. Making sure all kids have these baseline skills on day one is about equity. Studies show that students who are from families living below the poverty line are often developmentally and academically behind their peers. The gap is not inherent to a child’s cultural, socioeconomic, or geographical background but rather a result of years of economic, housing, cultural, and other policies that have disproportionately hurt people of color and who work low- and middle-skill jobs. These policies have created a gap in opportunities to learn for the children of these families.
Why Kindergarten Readiness MattersKindergarten is a formative learning year. It’s when children learn the skills that will help them adapt and succeed in later years of school. If more kids had the skills and abilities they need to be successful in school when they started kindergarten, they would have a greater opportunity to achieve success in high school and beyond.
United Way & Helping KidsUnited Way of Dodge County supports families to help all kids entering kindergarten start from the same spot.
- “The Reading Center helps children in Dodge County through our 1:1 tutoring program. These kids came to The Reading Center because they were falling behind in school due to undiagnosed dyslexia. We match these students with highly trained tutors who help move those students on the path to reading success. The United Way of Dodge County helps to keep the cost of our programs low so it is affordable to more families.” – Sarah Carlson-Wallrath, Development Director
- “The United Way of Dodge County has provided funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters Southern Minnesota to continue to match children with positive role models that change their lives for the better, forever. Funding is used to recruit, screen, and match volunteers (Bigs) with local children in need of an additional positive role model in their life. Funds are also used to professionally support the mentoring matches to ensure child safety and support the match in attaining their goals.” – Michelle Redman, Executive Director
- “United Way of Dodge County has made it possible for families in Dodge County to receive the parenting support they need to raise children in loving and nurturing homes where they can thrive! Exchange Club is sought out by many communities; however, we are only able to go into communities that have a strong support system, such as the one that United Way of Dodge County provides to its communities. Thank you!” – Annette Duncan, Executive Director
Be the Difference!