Washougal child care providers and caregivers have joined forces with preschool and kindergarten teachers to support the community’s youngest learners.
Washougal’s School Readiness Team, formed through a Community Foundation for Southwest Washington grant, consists of approximately 15 participants who meet regularly to develop a shared set of expectations for early learning and collaborate to help prepare students for kindergarten.
According to Lisa Young, Washougal Early Learning technician, the team’s goal is to develop a clear understanding of what kindergarten teachers expect children to know when they walk in the door and to help preschool providers prepare children for this transition.
“It has been wonderful for this group to work together, much like a professional learning community, for the purpose of preparing children for school,” Young said. “I am very impressed with the caliber of child care in our community.”
She notes that full day kindergarten, which Washougal began offering at all schools in September 2014, is a “game changer” in terms of what children will learn and be able to do.
“I think everyone understands that the stakes are higher now,” she said.
According to research from the First Five Years Fund, high quality early learning improves the quality of life for children, families and communities. Children who have access to early learning programs are 29 percent more likely to graduate from high school, 50 percent less likely to require special education, 50 percent less likely to become teen parents and 70 percent less likely to be arrested for a violent crime before the age of 18.