Kindergarten Readiness Network
Kindergarten Readiness is centered around this critical goal: Every child entering school is ready to learn. According to James Heckman, a professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, investments in quality early childhood programs lead to better educational, health, social, and economic outcomes for individuals and entire communities.

The Kindergarten Readiness Network works to identify strategies that prepare children for kindergarten and to promote the importance that access to high quality early learning programs plays in a child’s life.

Our Work

Using research to guide our efforts, the Kindergarten Readiness Network focuses on strategies for 4-year-old Kindergarten (4K) enrollment and for engaging families who have young children that will ultimately enroll in Early Childhood Programs in Racine County. Some of these initiatives include:

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
The Kindergarten Readiness Network developed a checklist to help families and the community understand the key indicators of “kindergarten readiness.” Since it’s release, community members have aligned programs, such as UW-Extension’s ‘Book and Block Parties,’ with content from the checklist. You can find English and Spanish versions of the checklist below in the Network Resources section.

4 Year-Old Kindergarten Study
Higher Expectations has partnered with Racine Unified School District (RUSD) and Acelero Learning to conduct a study of 4K programs throughout the community. Results from the 4K study show a correlation between 4K participation and school readiness. With this research, community leaders have proposed the expansion and implementation of full-day 4K programs within RUSD. The benefits of full-day 4K programs were compelling enough for RUSD to fund their own full-day 4K classrooms. If you want to learn more about 4K expansion, click here to read a featured article in the Journal Times.

Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is a Literacy Program provided to Racine County children by Wheaton/Ascension All-Saints. From a child’s 6-month checkup and through age 5, doctors across the County prescribe (and provide) free, age-appropriate books at every Well Child visit. Doctors also practice reading those books during the appointment and encourage families to read together at home.

Imagination Library
Imagination Library was created in 1996 by famed country-singer Dolly Parton to foster a love of reading. All participating children receive free, age-appropriate books through the mail each month, from birth to age five. In 2016, United Way of Racine County expanded the program to reach all Racine County residents with young children.

Network Resources 

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist: English -- Spanish

RUSD 4K Enrollment
4 Year-Old Kindergarten at RUSD provides a half-day (and in some schools, full-day), developmentally appropriate educational program of learning and activities for 4 year-old children. 4K is free for children who live within RUSD's boundaries.

Imagination Library
United Way for Racine County encourages families with young children to sign up for their Imagination Library program.

Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is a Literacy Program provided to Racine County children by Wheaton/Ascension All-Saints.

Network Partners