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State Center Awards Texas Readiness Certification to Pre-K Classrooms
Parents will be able to see if pre-K will help children prepare for kindergarten
The State Center for Early Childhood Development at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is awarding over 450 classrooms across the state with the new Texas Readiness Certification for the 2007-08 school year.
The “Texas Readiness Certification: Ready for School, Ready for Life” program, developed by the state center and 20 community partnerships from across Texas, evaluates pre-school, Head Start and childcare classrooms and supports teacher training.
Pre-schools and centers apply to the state center for annual certification and provide the staff with information about classrooms, such as the learning environment and curriculum. The children in those classrooms then are followed from pre-K into kindergarten and evaluated by the state center on their early reading and social development to determine if the pre-K classroom helped prepare the students for success in elementary school.
“This certification will most benefit families. For the first time, parents will have something very clear to look at, to see if the pre-K they are considering will help their children be prepared for kindergarten, to help their children start school ready to learn,” said Susan Landry, Ph.D., the state center’s director and director of the Children’s Learning Institute at the UT Health Science Center at Houston.
A crucial part of the program is the Web-based training developed for teachers. “The goal is to link the training the teachers receive to the learning experiences they provide for preschoolers – to change what they do in the classroom to make sure it is helping the child get ready for school. The right teacher, with the right curriculum, can help a child develop a foundation for not just kindergarten, but for their entire education,” said Landry, who also is the UT Medical School at Houston’s Michael Matthew Knight Professor of Pediatrics.
Pre-school, Head Start and child-care centers will have to apply for certification for each school year. “Each year new preschoolers enter these classrooms. Our goal is to help provide each of them with a school-ready experience,” Landry said.
The certification program was set in motion in 2005 with passage of Senate Bill 76, which approved state funding. For more information, see Texas School Ready or call 1-800-315-7204.
By Melissa McDonald, Institutional Advancement
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