Our 2030 Goal:
100% Kindergarten Readiness in Florida
For the last decade, The Children’s Movement of Florida has been focused on promoting school readiness because we know children need a strong foundation to thrive. That’s why we are the natural choice to unite business, community leaders and policymakers under the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s ambitious Florida 2030 strategic plan to have 100% of children ready for kindergarten by 2030.
Learn more about the why of this initiative in this Miami Herald op-ed from our Chief of Staff Madeleine Thakur.
What Does it Mean to be Ready?
This kindergarten readiness number reflects the results of an assessment given during the first month of the school year to all kindergarten students attending public school in Florida. At the system level, it gives policymakers, superintendents and the public a sense of whether or not we are making a sufficient investment in early learning and family supports before children enter kindergarten.
So what does it mean to be ready for kindergarten? For our five year olds, social-emotional and executive function skills are far more important than mastering letters, numbers and shapes. Children who are “ready” can listen, wait their turn, communicate, and cooperate. They can hold a pencil and focus on a task. They have a foundation for critical thinking, curiosity and an eagerness to learn.
The Harvard Center on the Developing Child has excellent resources on how we can help children develop their executive functioning skills and the U.S. Department of Education offers excellent resources on how we can help children build their social-emotional skills.
What We Need to Get It Right:
- Stimulating early learning opportunities
- Investment in early learning teachers
- Support for parents and families
- Screening and early identification of special needs
- Access to health insurance and preventive care
Who Needs to be Involved?
It will take all of us to get to 100% K-Readiness, but it’s worth it! If you want to know the K-Readiness score in your local school district or neighborhood school, you can find it on the Florida Department of Education website. When you get there, scroll down for numbers by county and by school.
What Can You Do?
- Offer paid parental leave and child care subsidies for mothers and fathers.
- Create a family-friendly culture with flexibility to take children for pediatric appointments.
- Share resources with all employees who are new or expectant parents.
- Sponsor a parent resource and health screening fair.
- Spread the message that learning begins at birth – talk to your baby even before they can talk back.
- Stop using the word “daycare.” Replace it with “early learning.” This work helps build children’s brains and is hard work for teachers.
- Provide outreach for health insurance enrollment.
- Host a parent resource and health screening fair.
- Continue to invest in high-quality, educational child care for working families.
- Increase investment in VPK.
- Celebrate and support early learning teachers.
- Expand Help Me Grow, a parent resource to identify behavioral or developmental concerns and seek early intervention before children enter school.
The Movement is spearheading this effort, but change will happen on the ground in communities. If you know of a great initiative in your community contact us at info[at]childrensmovementflorida.org with the subject heading “K-Readiness 2030.”