About 25 percent of incoming kindergartners were at “high risk” of falling behind their classmates in learning how to read in 2013, according to Forsyth Futures’ “Making Progress Report: Children Ready for School 2013,” which was released last week.
While children receive early childhood care in a variety of ways, the study focused only on star-rated care sites because it is not currently possible to measure the quality of care that children receive in their own homes or out-of-home care sites that are not rated.
About 67 percent of pre-school-aged children in star-rated child care are in a 4–or–5–star child care center or home, which is considered high quality care. The average annual cost of high-quality child care would exceed 10 percent of the family’s income for approximately 13,228 families with children under the age of 5. Forsyth Futures found that the majority of children entering Title I schools, which receive funding based on economic need, are “at risk” of falling behind, and they are about twice as likely to be “at risk” as children entering other schools.
“I think an important thing to note about the data is that not all children are coming to kindergarten ready to learn how to read, and there are significant demographic disparities in who is ready and who is not,” said Elizabeth Perkins, research analyst at Forsyth Futures and lead researcher on the report.
Another component of the report is establishing a target goal of a 10 percent increase in children with “no risk” in the area of early literacy by 2020. Based on the size of this year’s incoming kindergarten class, this change would require 36 more children each year to begin kindergarten with “no risk” in the area of early literacy.
Forsyth Futures set another goal of increasing by 10 percent by 2022 the proportion of preschool-aged children in child care centers and homes rated 1 to 5 stars who are in 4- and 5-star high quality care. Based on the number of preschool children enrolled in star-rated child care in 2012, an estimated 37 children each year would need to move from 1- to 3-star care to 4- or 5-star care to reach this goal.
“It is imperative that our community continues to address the increasing demand for out-of-home child care that is both affordable and offers high quality educational experiences during the early years,” according to Dr. Doris Páez, executive director of Forsyth Futures and also a psychologist who has specialized in education and child development. “These figures highlight the need to provide our children with a strong foundation for academic skills, but also for positive physical, social and cognitive developmental outcomes for all our children, including support for their caregivers and families.”
Forsyth Futures is a non-profit collaborative of residents, organizations and institutions working together to address critical community issues.
The “Making Progress Report: Children Ready for School 2013” and other Educational Success indicators can be found at www.forsythfuturesorg.