Study shows nearly a quarter of kids in Springfield are not prepared for kindergarten

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 9:48 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2023 at 4:19 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - The Mayor’s Commission for Children’s 2022 Kindergarten Readiness Study found nearly one-quarter of Springfield kids were not prepared for kindergarten.

The commission conducts the study approximately every four years. This year, the study was prepared by Dr. Melissa Duncan Fallone from the Dixon Center for Research and Service at Missouri State University.

  • A total of 360 surveys were completed by Springfield Public Schools teachers for a response rate of 80%. 2022 overall readiness results indicate 23.9% of those surveyed were not prepared for kindergarten.
  • 36.6% of free and reduced lunch program students were reported as “not ready,” while 13.5% of their non-free and reduced lunch program peers reported as “not ready.”
  • 53.8% of students who did not attend a formal preschool were reported as “not ready,” as compared to 20.4% of their preschool-attending peers.

Springfield Public Schools uses new state funding to expand access to high-quality early childhood education for under-resourced and underrepresented students. With the passage of the 2019 bond, the district constructed the first building designed for early childhood education, and the district added two preschool mini-hubs at the new Boyd Elementary and the new Williams Elementary. By maximizing the funding stream and the community’s support to build a new early childhood facility, the district plans to serve approximately 1,000 4-year-olds by 2023-2024.

“This study has been a cornerstone in the community for the past 17 years and has fueled the energy and momentum around the importance and impact of early childhood education that has helped our community embrace opportunities for preschool expansion and strengthen other initiatives to remove barriers for readiness,” said Brigitte Marrs, Mayor’s Commission for Children executive director. Brandy Harris, current chairman of the Mayor’s Commission, commented “we must continue our investment in early childhood education because that is what our kids and community needs and deserves. The road ahead is long, but we need people who care deeply about this work, and the Mayor’s Commission for Children will continue to help lead that charge.”

The Kindergarten Readiness Study was made possible through the funding and support of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Musgrave Foundation.

“As we continue our work to skill up our workforce in Springfield, we must remember that it all begins with children arriving at kindergarten ready to learn,” said Mayor Ken McClure. “I want to thank the commission and our partners for tracking this important data, and I want to commend Springfield Public Schools and the education community for their efforts to expand pre-K programs.

About the Mayor’s Commission for Children

The Mayor’s Commission for Children was established in 2004. Our mission is to ensure every child matters by acting as a catalyst to mobilize and educate our community concerning the health and well-being of our local youth. Our vision is to be the voice for children’s issues in our community. Meetings are held at 8 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, 202 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway.

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