Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Kindergarten Readiness

Preparing for Kindergarten

caucasian and african american girls hugging

In Kentucky, School Readiness meansthat a child enters school ready to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences that best promote the child’s success. The journey to kindergarten begins at birth. In the first five years of life, 90% of the brain is developed. This critical window lays the foundation for a child's developmental and emotional health that leads to school success. The school readiness definition outlines the five developmental domains children can aspire to have prior to kindergarten. While these skills are desired, the only eligibility requirement for kindergarten enrollment in Kentucky is to meet the legal age requirement to enter public school.

Families, early care and education providers, school staff and community partners must work together to provide environments and developmental experiences that promote growth to ensure that all children in Kentucky enter school ready and excited to learn.

What Does School Readiness Look Like?

In Kentucky, families, schools, communities and the Commonwealth work together to assure children possess the foundation to succeed in school


  • Need a general knowledge and curiosity of the world, things, events, and people;
  • Exposure to print;
  • Experiences with developmentally appropriate hands-on learning;
  • Motivation and engagement with learning tasks;
  • Experience in the arts including music, visual art, and dramatic play;
  • Possess effective social, emotional, and interpersonal skills;
  • Socialization to group norms such as will be expected in the school and classroom setting;
  • Have developed the ability to communicate effectively; and
  • Require any physical or health barriers to be addressed including screening and correction for vision, hearing, and other health-related issues.


  • Understand they are their child’s first teacher, nurturing and stimulating their child’s development;
  • Provide safe and financially stable homes;
  • Wellness awareness including nutrition and exercise; and
  • Access to information on how to advocate for their child’s learning and development.

Professionals & Schools:

  • Expect all children to achieve at high levels;
  • Ensure qualified and competent educators trained to work with young children in early childhood settings;
  • Support for appropriate professional development for high-quality teachers;
  • Assure effective transitions at all key points to include home to school, child care to school, preschool to kindergarten
  • Provide developmentally appropriate primary programs;
  • Emphasis on effective parent/family involvement;
  • Assist child care providers with training and implementation of “Building a Strong Foundation for School Success” including the Kentucky Early Childhood Standards; and
  • Preschool and kindergarten teachers mentoring with child care workers


  • Provide access to high quality, affordable early care and education programs;
  • Ensure a safe and healthy environment for families;
  • Assure access to prevention and intervention services;
  • Provide opportunities for lifelong learning for parents (especially the undereducated);
  • Wrap-around child care services for working parents; and
  • Collaboration and alliance of agencies to better prepare children for school readiness. The following are examples of agencies that should be involved:
    • Child care providers
    • Head Start
    • Universities and colleges
    • Local Early Childhood Councils
    • School districts
    • Preschool teachers
    • Kindergarten teachers
    • Family Resource Centers
    • Special Education
    • Public Libraries