A Million New Opportunities

“I firmly believe that we can close the school readiness gap and prepare our children for college and careers through high-quality early learning experiences, but we have more work to do…”

Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools

As a kindergarten teacher, I loved the first day of school. After weeks of stapling corrugated border around bulletin boards, stringing yarn through the holes of the new name tags, setting up beautiful and enticing learning centers, and organizing the critical tools for my students – new boxes of unbroken crayons with 24 dazzling colors, writer’s workshop books, pens and pencils, glue sticks, and rubber-handled scissors with no sharp edges – the day had finally arrived. The morning was crisp, and it was the earliest in the day I had seen over the past weeks of the long, endless – and now almost forgotten – summer. Everything smelled new and full of a million new opportunities. I greeted each child at the door and with them, waved goodbye to their parents, and considered each one's potential in the coming school year … in my room.  Unfortunately, the starting line for each child varied widely because of their different life experiences leading up to that first day of kindergarten – serious differences that could mean some of them would never be able to keep pace or catch up.

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Strong Families, Strong Children "There comes a time when silence is betrayal"

When families are weakened, children suffer.  Today, at both the state and federal levels, families – increasingly, with declared will and purpose -- are under attack.  If I am to remain a defender of children and promote what is best for them at every turn, my silence in this moment will fail those I intend to serve. 

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Save the Date for Our School Readiness Symposium in December!

On December 14, 2017, Maryland State Department of Education, in partnership with Ready At Five, will hold the Winter School Readiness Symposium at Turf Valley Resort. 

The Winter Symposium is entitled Equity in Literacy Must Start Early and will feature Dr. Nell Duke, professor in literacy, language, and culture and in the combined program in education and psychology at the University of Michigan. Duke’s award-winning research focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in poverty. Duke has been named in EdWeek as among the 50 most influential scholars in education. Among her current roles is serving as an expert for the NBC News Parent Toolkit and as an advisor on children's television and other media for the Public Broadcasting Service/Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Ready to Learn program. Duke is author and co-author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and books.

 We can't achieve equity in society if we don't achieve equity in literacy.  Inequities in early literacy development are an urgent problem - and one we can all do something about. In this presentation Dr. Duke will share strategies we can use to increase opportunities for literacy learning in schools, care settings homes, and communities.  She will speak on the critical need to provide rich language and literacy experiences for children, beginning with infants and toddlers and extending through the early years, to ensure equitable opportunities later in school and in life. Of particular importance is addressing the specific needs of our most vulnerable children, including English learners, children with disabilities and children from low-income families. Through large-group discussions and in-depth breakout sessions, the Symposium will focus on methods to cultivate early language and literacy skills proven to lead to later school achievement; provide developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate practices to support children from birth to age five; and develop strategies to strengthen home, school, and community partnerships.


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About Ready at Five

Mission

Ready At Five improves the practice and quality of early childhood education in Maryland.

Vision

We believe that every child in Maryland should have the foundational skills needed for success in school, career and life.

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ReadyAtFive What an enriching day of learning yesterday about "Equity in Literacy Must Start Early" with @nellkduke and all of… https://t.co/scNp4wS5De
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