Research shows that 85 percent of a child’s core brain development occurs by age three. This makes the first few years of a child’s life crucial for healthy brain development and early academic experiences to prepare young children for school.
Students who arrive in kindergarten with the skills needed for early academic success such as vocabulary, letter recognition and social-emotional skills, are more likely to read proficiently by the end of third grade. However, only half of Arkansas’s kindergartners are considered school ready. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families partnered with the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to publish a report on the factors that contribute to the development of infants and toddlers and impact their school readiness.
What Do Our Littlest Learners Need To Be School-Ready? outlines the factors that impact school readiness in the first three years of life such as ensuring that infants and toddlers have access to quality healthcare, quality early education programs, early developmental screenings and strong parental engagement.
The report also offers recommendations on how policymakers can prioritize programs that support families with young children and recommendations for parents on how to help their children’s early brain development.