Studies around the importance of quality early childhood education have shown that all children need a strong foundation in order to be successful in school and in life. A child’s readiness for kindergarten is one important measure of a strong start.
The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood recently released the 2015 Early Childhood Profiles for Kentucky and all 120 counties. The Early Childhood Profile includes data from the kindergarten screener, measuring readiness in five domains including academic/cognitive, language development, and physical development as well as self-help and social-emotional domains. The profile also includes information about the types of early care and education programs operating in the area, third grade assessment results, and indicators around health, family, and supportive services.
The 2015 profiles reveal 50 percent of children in the Commonwealth were identified as ready for kindergarten. This is a slight, but promising, increase from the 2014 report which identified 49 percent of children ready for kindergarten. Enrollment in preschool remained fairly steady compared to the 2014 profiles; however, the number of children enrolled in Head Start decreased by over 1,500 children. Also, the total capacity of child care centers decreased by over 6,500 between the 2014 and 2015 reports. Decreased enrollment in Head Start and less slots available for children to attend child care means there are less opportunities in the state for children to attend early care and education programs that can help to improve their cognitive and social skills.
The county profiles provide data that can help communities to recognize challenges and opportunities and help them to develop strategies to increase the number of children who are ready for kindergarten.
To find out how the young children in your county are faring, find your early childhood profile HERE.