Studies show that educational achievement gaps already exist at Kindergarten entry.  Children from low-income families are more likely to start school with limited language skills, health problems and social and emotional problems that interfere with learning.  The larger the gap at school entry, the harder it is to close.

Language proficiency is a key predictor of school success. Early literacy skills (size of vocabulary, recognizing letters, understanding letter and sound relationships) at kindergarten entry are good predictors of children's reading abilities throughout their educational careers. Language and literacy skills enable children to develop cognitive skills and knowledge and to interact effectively with peers and adults.



Highlights of the State
Missouri is the birth place of the nationally acclaimed Parents As Teachers program, as well as the first state to create an accreditation system for child care, which predates the national accrediting organizations. In 1997, Missouri passed legislation that created the Early Care and Education Fund, which channels gaming proceeds to support quality early learning. These funds have allowed Missouri to create additional quality child care spaces across the state, provide incentives and assistance for accreditation, invest in state-funded Early Head Start, and create an innovative Stay At Home Parent support structure.

Policy Issues
* Creating a statewide Early Childhood Authority.
* Creating a cohesive early learning system for all Missouri children.

Statutory Children's Cabinet
The Children's Services Commission
Missouri has a longstanding statutory children's group, the Children's Services Commission, which has a mandate to integrate state funding to improve services for children. The group is comprised of cabinet level officials and key legislators. The group has been a vehicle for interagency collaboration and shared visioning. Missouri has been a leader in developing partnerships between the public and private sectors and with communities to improve outcomes for children through the executive ordered Family and Community Trust Board, which works with community partnerships across the state to improve outcomes for children. There is interest is establishing a statewide entity with responsibility and authority to weave Missouri's cadre of strong programs into a statewide system of early learning. The Missouri School Readiness Indicators team and its product will be important in moving this agenda forward.

Click here to explore The Missouri School Readiness Indicators Project website.

Missouri School Readiness Report
Access Ready or Not, Here We Grow! by clicking on the following link:



© 2005, School Readiness Indicators Initiative
One Union Station Providence, RI 02903 401.351.9400 fax 401.351.1758
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The School Readiness Indicators Initiative is supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
The 17-state initiative is managed by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT