Statement from Brian A. Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide

The academic success of children in later years depends heavily upon their kindergarten readiness. The first few years of education and preparedness are the most crucial to establishing a solid foundation from which children can adapt to school systems and learn successfully. During this period, children develop primary skills that form the foundations of reading, counting, and social interaction.

The levels of preparedness with which a child enters kindergarten are academic and emotional, and they rely most heavily on being prepared at home. It is vital to nurture related skills in children, including the ability to focus, think logically, recognize important words, demonstrate some self control, and speak clearly. To help children who are entering their first years of school, it is essential to ensure that adequate support and educational stimulation are provided at home.

Along with reading, writing, and counting, programs that encourage kindergarten readiness also focus on social development.