Kindergarten Readiness and the Future of Shelby County

As a brand new school year starts across Shelby County, almost 15,000 five-year-olds will venture into kindergarten for the very first time. Our best estimates tell us that about half of these children will reach kindergarten with strong cognitive, social, and emotional foundations, setting them on a pathway to success both in school and later in life.

Readiness at kindergarten is an important milestone in a child’s development. When children reach school ready to learn, they are more likely to become early readers, are more likely to progress successfully from grade to grade, and are more likely to graduate on time and to enroll in college. In turn, these same children are more likely to grow into adults who avoid teen parenting, they have an easier time finding and holding decent jobs, and are less likely to become involved in crime.

For all of these reasons, kindergarten readiness is an important milestone not only for children and families, but also for the community we will become.  This is why the Unified School Districts Transition Planning Committee’s Transition plan gives first priority to insuring that every child in Shelby County reaches kindergarten ready to learn. 

Families, caregivers, and preschool teachers all help prepare children for school. Across the nation, children who attend high-quality pre-kindergarten programs reach kindergarten in stronger shape. This is why the Transition Planning Committee is advocating for universal access to pre-kindergarten.

This is the right first step in growing the next generation of Shelby County’s teachers, police officers, doctors, policymakers, business leaders and entrepreneurs.  The decisions we make today concerning our youngest children are really decisions about the community that we will become in a few short years.