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      50 percent of students not ready for kindergarten

      Amarillo College is the lead agency for the Texas School Ready grant. But officials there say, students entering kindergarten are anything but ready. So they're stressing the importance of early childhood development. Pronews 7 is explaining how parents can get involved.

      Texas School Ready is formerly known as TEEM-Texas Early Education Model. It's a high quality early childhood model, based on proven school readiness components. For example: high quality, developmentally appropriate and rigorous curriculum; continuous student progress monitoring; professional development for teachers; and creating and implementing a School Readiness Integration Partnership to coordinate services among school districts, child care providers, and Head Start programs participating in the Kindergarten Readiness System.

      Amarillo College is the lead agency in our area to implement its standards. They have a childhood development lab school to help do just that.

      "It's all about a research based method of increasing those pre-school years, the opportunity, the educational component, the academic component of it. So that kids are more likely to be ready just like all the other children going into kindergarten," said Department Chair, Mary Clare Munger.

      But Munger says, data is showing that 50-percent of children entering kindergarten are not prepared. Starting these students educational career off with difficulties retaining information and a feeling of being overwhelmed with information.

      "Children who start and they're lacking the minute they get to kindergarten it's very hard to catch up".

      She says teachers and parents can tell when a child is behind by the lack of expressive words, they don't know how to count, match or sort. But besides enrolling your child at age three or four into a head start or child care program, parents can help at home, by doing simply fun activities that introduce reading, story telling, and counting.

      "Simply things can get them involved with counting subtracting, making sure we have one more. And reading with them all the time or just telling the story and asking questions. And it gives the kids so much in terms of thinking, cognitive activity listening carefully its very important," said Munger.

      Giving these children a hands up in succeeding. Amarillo College is inviting all childcare, head start schools, registered family units, and parents to a program Thursday, May 9th at 3:00 p.m. at their West Campus to discuss the Texas School Ready model.