About School Readiness

blocksChildren are born ready to learn. Children are naturally curious beings who are motivated to make sense of the world around them. The brain is the only organ that is not fully formed at birth. During the first 3 years, trillions of connections between brain cells are being made. A child’s relationships and experiences during the early years greatly influence how her brain grows.

Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when the learning is fun.

Defining and Measuring School Readiness
No single test is in use in South Carolina that can give a child a “readiness score” (the SC Readiness Assessment was discontinued by the SC Department of Education in 2008), and most early childhood experts agree that children that young are not appropriate subjects for traditional testing. While no one definitive measure exists that quantifies the exact meaning of readiness, there are some generally accepted skills and characteristics that contribute to a child being ready to succeed in school. RCFS developed our School Readiness Declaration in partnership with leading scholars and educational organization leaders to help set some common language for the conversation about getting kids ready for school.

The SC Program for Infant/Toddler Care has established some Infant/Toddler Guidelines for caregivers that aim to help them provide “responsive, reciprocal, and respectful care” to children from birth through age 3. We use these guidelines in our early childhood programs, particularly Early Head Start.

One measure that we look at as an indication of our success in improving school readiness is the first grade retention rate, that is, the number or percentage of children who had to repeat first grade. Since RCFS was founded through 2010, first grade retention rates in Richland County were reduced from 4.7 percent to 2 percent — a 57 percent decrease, with an estimated savings of $1.1 million per year in Richland County.

  About School Readiness

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