Texas School Ready Program preparing young children for kindergarten

Friday, January 31, 2014 - 11:45am

Recent statistics show children entering kindergarten in Cameron County are just not ready, Na'Tassia Finley has more on a statewide program that aims to get those under 5 years of age ready for the classroom.

The program is not a new one, in fact it's been here in Cameron County for the past decade, but the push to get the word out there about it and to get more involved, is at the forefront when it comes to early childhood development in the county. The Texas School Ready Program aims at getting children prepared for kindergarten as Lynette Benavidez stated, "We just completed an assessment with our local school districts and found that only 23 percent of our kids are considered very ready. It was really an alarming stat for us to find."

Patricia Cantu-Flores, TSR Project Coordinator, "One of the things for us, is to work with the children to decrease that gap and really have them ready by the time they enter kindergarten so they can actually learn and move forward."

The program offers curriculum, in-house training and resources to daycares, Head Start programs and IDS's. Having children ready for kinder, knowing the basics, like letters, numbers, syllables and rhyming may sound simple, but officials say those things are really the building blocks of learning.

Lynette Benavidez, "The brain develops primarily between zero and five, but zero to three is increasingly important in that three to four year-olds to the development of the child's future."

The classrooms that participate in the Texas School Ready Program, all 119 of them, have started receiving their TSR banners. The state wide program runs off a grant, Patricia Cantu-Flores, "We try to have a third of our classrooms from ISD's a third from Head Starts and a third from daycares."

Cantu-Flores says the program's popularity is growing, a waiting list is currently in place, a great sign that early education is becoming a top priority and no longer inadvertently overlooked.

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