New kindergarten officially unveiled | Docklands News

The new kindergarten co-located at Docklands Primary School was officially opened last month with a visit from Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt.

Minister Stitt joined students and educators, Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt and Docklands Primary School principal Adam Bright in celebrating the important milestone for the Docklands community on April 22.

Gowrie Docklands Kindergarten includes two children’s rooms and outdoor learning terraces on the first floor of the school. Gowrie Victoria is the approved provider and will offer sessional and integrated kindergarten programs for both three- and four-year-old children.

“We know that education begins much earlier than a child’s first step into primary school. This new kindergarten gives Docklands children the early years center and education they need and deserve,” Minister Stitt said.

Gowrie Docklands Kindergarten is the first of nine kindergartens on school sites already announced as part of a $283 million state government program.

The government has delivered a number of new kindergartens on existing school sites each year to support the roll-out of three-year-old kindergartens, and the co-location of services. It has continued this trend by ensuring that every Victorian primary school to open from 2021 will have a kindergarten on-site or next door.

This includes Docklands Primary School and the other nine new primary schools which opened in 2021, as well as all six new primary schools opening in 2022 •

For more information:

Kindergarten readiness improvements for second straight year

The latest Kindergarten Individual Development Survey shows there has been steady improvement over the last two years in the percentage of children entering kindergarten ready to learn. (Credit: Illinois State Board of Education).

Latest KIDS report shows significant racial, economic disparities

Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD — The number of Illinois children entering kindergarten who are fully prepared to start school grew for the second consecutive year in 2019, a possible indication that the state’s increased spending on early childhood education is paying off.

But the latest kindergarten readiness report, released Monday by the Illinois State Board of Education, also showed that more than one-third of all students who entered kindergarten last year were unprepared across all three developmental areas that the state tries to measure.

“As a former kindergarten teacher, I believe that it is important to do everything possible to support Illinois children in their critical early years,” State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said in a news release. “I want every child in the state to enter kindergarten with the cognitive skills to read, remember, pay attention, and solve problems, and the social-emotional skills to communicate, connect with others, display kindness, and cope with challenges.”

The numbers come from the third annual Kindergarten Individual Development Survey, or KIDS, a tool the state developed to allow school districts to use a uniform system of measuring a child’s development across three key areas — social and emotional, language and literacy, and math.

Under the program, kindergarten teachers are supposed to observe their pupils during the first 40 days of school using 14 different measurements to determine their readiness for school.

The latest report showed that 29 percent of the pupils entering kindergarten demonstrated readiness across all three developmental areas. That was up from 26 percent in 2018 and 24 percent in 2017, the first year of the program.

The report also shows there has been steady growth within each of the three development areas. The percentage of kindergarteners demonstrating social and emotional readiness grew to 56 percent, up from 49 percent in 2017; 47 percent demonstrated readiness in language and literacy development, up from 44 percent in 2017; and 35 percent demonstrated readiness in math, up from only 30 percent in 2017.

That same report also showed that 37 percent of last year’s kindergarteners failed to show readiness across any of the three developmental areas. Still, that number was down from 39 percent in 2018 and 42 percent in 2017.

There were significant disparities between various racial and socio-economic groups, although some progress has been made.

For example, among pupils who qualify for free or reduced-price meals, only 20 percent demonstrated readiness across all three categories, although that was up from 18 percent in 2018 and 16 percent in 2017.

Meanwhile, only 14 percent of students from non-English speaking households demonstrated readiness across all three development areas, although that was up from 11 percent in 2018 and 10 percent in 2017.

And while 29 percent of students overall demonstrated readiness across all three categories, only 23 percent of Black students and 17 percent of Hispanics met that benchmark, compared to 35 percent of white and Asian students.

In its news release, ISBE attributed at least some of the growth to increased state spending on early childhood education. The budget that Gov. JB Pritzker proposed and lawmakers approved last year included an additional $50 million in the state’s Early Childhood Block Grant program to improve the quality and expand access to preschool programs.

That money enabled 10,000 more students to attend early childhood programs last year before entering kindergarten, ISBE said. It also helped 655 programs increase the quality of their services.

Another $50 million was added in the current fiscal year’s budget, but due to revenue shortfalls that have resulted from the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, state budget officials have said it remains uncertain whether the entire budget will be funded.

ISBE did note, however, that Pritzker has set aside $270 million for a Child Care Recovery Grant program, the largest such program in the nation. He has also dedicated $10 million from the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund to support early learning programs in areas hardest hit by the pandemic.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

UPDATED: New COVID-19 restrictions to take effect in Will, Kankakee Counties Wednesday

UPDATED: New COVID-19 restrictions to take effect in Will, Kankakee Counties Wednesday

Application period opens for Illinois' COVID-19 mortgage assistance program

Application period opens for Illinois’ COVID-19 mortgage assistance program

Peter Hancock

Peter Hancock

Peter was one of the founding reporters with Capitol News Illinois. A native of the Kansas City area, he has degrees in political science and education from the University of Kansas.

Other posts by Peter Hancock