Assessing Kindergarten Readiness in Arizona
Author: Dr. Karen Ortiz, Vice President and Program Director, Early Grade Success
In laying the foundation for success in school and beyond, the ages between birth to eight are the most critical in a child's development. Ensuring young children have access to high quality early learning environments, regardless of race, income or geography, provides many proven individual and societal benefits. Helios is committed to strengthening early childhood systems to promote language acquisition and emergent literacy for children, birth through age 8, in order to help ensure more children in Arizona and Florida enter kindergarten prepared to succeed which we believe lays the foundation for them to read proficiently by the end of third grade.
Ensuring that children enter kindergarten ready to succeed is one of the most pressing issues for early childhood educators. It is a complex issue and there is significant research on the definition of school readiness and how to provide the supports necessary to address the needs of children who develop at different rates and in different ways. In addition, research also suggests that the concept of readiness includes much more than children’s readiness. For example, consider the following definition:
“School readiness involves more than just children. School readiness, in the broadest sense, is about children, families, early environments, schools, and communities. Children are not innately “ready” or “not ready” for school. Their skills and development are strongly influenced by their families and through their interactions with other people and environments before coming to school. 
However, we can’t overstate the importance of kindergarten readiness. The academic success of children depends heavily on their experience in kindergarten. It establishes a solid foundation on which the rest of their academic career is built.
Recently, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) released a School Readiness Framework that expresses a commitment to ensuring children are prepared as they enter the world of academic instruction and learning. The framework focuses on why we need a school readiness framework, the definition of school readiness in Arizona and the important role of the family in supporting children’s school readiness.
Click here to download Arizona’s School Readiness Framework and learn more about the successful transition into kindergarten for all children.
 Maxwell, K., & R.M. Clifford. 2004. Research in review: School readiness assessment. Young Children 59 (1):
Category: Early Childhood Education