It's the foundation for 12 years of education. Kindergarten is serious enough businesses that the Tennessee Legislature is making moves to ensure the little ones are ready for school.
The State House has already passed a bill that would require a child to be 5 by August 15th in order to enroll in kindergarten. Currently they have until September 30th.
State Representative Glenn Casada sponsored the bill because he says, “Kindergarten teachers in my district came to me and the Williamson County delegation and said we think there are too many children in kindergarten that aren't ready.”
Cindy Ligon, director of McKendree United Methodist Church Day Care Center, knows all about getting kids ready for school. She's helped prepare pre-schoolers for the next level for more than two decades.
“Knowing how to wait for your turn, knowing how to put your own jacket on, knowing how to wipe your own bottom. Those are the type of skills that kindergarten teachers are going to expect children to have acquired,” she says.
But there skills some teachers aren't seeing in some of their students.
However, some believe it's not necessarily that children aren't ready for school, but the schools curriculum is more of a watered down first grade curriculum versus one geared towards a 5 year old.
Ligon says, “The curriculums for many kindergarten programs is almost reaching an inappropriate level in terms of there developmental appropriateness.”
However, Ligon says some kids just aren't socially ready for school, especially those who've never been in a group setting or experienced Pre-K. Casada says these are the kids the bill will eventually help.
If the bill passes in the Senate kids will have to be 5 years old on or before August 30th for the 2013-2014 school year and August 15th thereafter.