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October 30, 2012

Program addresses educational needs of local children

Reed: ‘Network is a way to bridge gap between preschool and kindergarten teachers’

LOGANSPORT — A network made of educators is working to address the needs of children in Cass County. 

Melissa Woolever of Kid’s Connection has found ways to use a door prize she won at a School Readiness Network meeting. 

Woolever has used the clock timer prize in her classroom with tips she received. 

Woolever is part of the School Readiness Network, which is made up of early child advocates including daycare providers and preschool and kindergarten teachers. 

The School Readiness Network meets once a week and shares tips so those in attendance, like Woolever, can swap ideas with local childhood educators.

Nikki Reed, Reading Railroad program coordinator, started the network this year.

She said it’s been a part of the Cass County Resource Network since 2011 and a yearlong process went into planning it. 

Reed said Reading Railroad went through the program management process in 2011 to see if programs, like Begindergarten, were making an impact. Reed said they found they were making an impact, but there was a need for a school readiness initiative.

Begindergarten is a program to help kindergarten students get a head start in being prepared for school.

“School readiness in the county is a problem,” Reed said. “Forty percent of children going into kindergarten are unprepared in Indiana. The number of children unprepared in Cass County is 60 percent.” 

Reed said of the 257 students in Logansport’s kindergarten round-up, 96 students were unprepared and invited to attend Begindergarten. After the six-week program, 73 percent of students raised from at-risk to adequately prepared. Since then, a lot of communities have called to find out what they are doing and it’s become a model program, Reed said. 

“In a lot of communities, school readiness is a new topic,” Reed said. “The network is a way to bridge gap between preschool and kindergarten teachers. What we’re doing here is developing these programs so we are ahead.”

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