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

* New Hampshire's School Readiness report was released last spring in a series of presentations including the following audiences: NH State Board of Education, the Legislative Caucus for Young Children and the NH Child Care Advisory Council.

* The National release of Getting Ready, Findings from the National School Readiness Indicators Initiative, A 17 State Partnership presents an opportunity for letters to the editor from the Children's Alliance in light of current proposed education standards being reviewed in the coming weeks, which include mandating kindergarten.

* State funds CHIP (Healthy Kids NH) for first time; rate of uninsured children halved in three years.

* Post-traumatic stress disorder and two eating disorders -- anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, were added to the list of biologically based mental illnesses for which health insurers must cover treatment. Coverage also required for some in- and out-patient substance-abuse detoxification and rehabilitation, and services provided by licensed alcohol and drug counselors.

* Statewide home visiting program initiated to serve women through pregnancy and until their baby's first birthday.

* The third edition of two parenting manuals was made available: Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby and Growing Up Healthy, being distributed by hospitals and family resource centers, mostly to parents of newborns.

* A statewide campaign, Early Learning Lasts a Lifetime, (ELLAL) was launched by the governor's Kids Cabinet and four core partners -- NH Business Partners for Early Learning, NH Police Chiefs Assn., NH Pediatric Society, and NH National Guard. Through a media campaign and a series of community forums, ELLAL aims to raise awareness about the importance of the early years to a child's later success in school and in life and mobilize state and local action to improve early learning across the state.

* Child Development Bureau is developing a core of high-quality early childhood professors to mentor less-experienced teachers.

* Homeless children can now attend the school they attended when they became homeless.

* Parent training and information workshops conducted for parents of children with disabilities. Topics include special education laws and the IEP process, parent-school collaboration, early intervention, disability awareness and transition from high school.

* 108 communities enrolled in the Best Schools Leadership Institute, an initiative developed to foster stronger community and parent involvement in school improvement efforts. 

* State developing standardized protocol for interviewing, investigating and assessing child abuse cases. Attorney General has made training of such teams a priority.

* $5 million bond appropriated for the state housing finance authority to support affordable housing. 

* Child care benefits extended for mothers who previously saw those benefits stop when their TANF grant did. Now, parents whose income exceeds TANF limits but who remain eligible for extended medical assistance (EMA) can still receive child-care reimbursement at the top rate.

Policy Issues
* Need fair and sustainable method of funding quality state public education.

* Need to offer universal, voluntary preschool and kindergarten.

* Full funding and accreditation of child protection system.

* Outreach to the estimated 15,000 uninsured children eligible for CHIP.

* Development of affordable housing throughout the state.

* Increase Medicaid reimbursements to health care (physical, mental and oral) providers.

* Extend unemployment insurance to workers who can work only part-time because they need to care for their child.

Statutory Children's Cabinet
The Kids Cabinet
In the Fall of 2001, Governor Jeanne Shaheen formed the Kids Cabinet, bringing together officials from the highest levels of state government to focus on improving the lives of New Hampshire's children. The Cabinet is currently working on a number of issues, including:
- Improving the quality, affordability and availability of child care.
- Improving the quality, affordability and availability of after-school care.
- Increasing the number of children who have health coverage.
- Reducing the rates of youth substance abuse and sexual activity.
- Helping parents help their children through parent-support activities.

Members of the Cabinet include the Commissioners of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Employment Security, Safety and Corrections; the Attorney General; the Coordinator of the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency; the Adjutant General and the Administrative Justice of the District and Municipal courts.

New Hampshire School Readiness Report
Access Ready, Set, Grow; Investing in Quality Early Care and Education for a Thriving New Hampshire by clicking on the following link:



© 2005, School Readiness Indicators Initiative
One Union Station Providence, RI 02903 401.351.9400 fax 401.351.1758
If you have a question or comment about this website, please contact us.

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