Schools ponder kindergarteners' classroom readiness

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Today’s kindergarten students are, in a word, savvy.  Most know how to operate computers, iPads and cellphones. Many can read, write and do basic math problems and work in groups to complete tasks.

What students used to learn in kindergarten 10 years ago, they now are expected to know before they walk through the door, said Lisa Ferguson, director of curriculum for Seymour Community Schools Corp.

“It’s not a choice,” she said. “It’s an expectation of here is what a student needs to know and be able to do.”

With an estimated 50 percent to 60 percent of area children not enrolled in some type of pre-kindergarten program, Ferguson and other local educators fear that too many students are not prepared to enter kindergarten, putting them at a disadvantage among their peers and forcing teachers to spend more time playing catch-up.

“You always have degrees of preparedness. Some come in very prepared, others do not,” Ferguson said. “If there are barriers or obstacles, we want to help with that so that we can intervene early.”

That’s one of the goals of the Jackson County Education Coalition — to ensure that every child is ready for kindergarten.

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