Andrea, a 4-year-old Pre-K student, creates a town with signs, animals and people at Bennett School on Monday morning.

Chatham education advocates emphasize importance of accessible Pre-K

in News

Jaime Detzi first became a staunch prekindergarten advocate three years ago.

As the executive director for Chatham Education Foundation (CEF), she’d be talking with a CEF board member about Chatham County Schools’ first Kindergarten readiness camp, which her organization was funding.

“We just started thinking, ‘OK, that was a three-week, half-day camp, and it did make an impact,’” Detzi said. “If you looked at students, just even being in school and learning how to do school for three weeks, for kids who had never been in a preschool before, it was huge. And we started thinking that’s kind of like a Band-Aid fix to the bigger problem — and that’s getting kids into quality Pre-K programs.”

CEF originally looked into Pre-K as a part of its campaign for grade-level reading in Chatham, which is all about 3rd grade reading proficiency. One of the main indicators of 3rd grade reading proficiency is “Kindergarten readiness,” some studies show, though the term itself is frequently debated in education forums. Some people disagree on which skills should be expected from Kindergartners; others worry the concept puts more responsibility on an individual child to learn, rather than on the school entrusted to teach them.

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