Kentucky expands effort to make sure kids are ready for kindergarten; gets $1.4 million boost

'We don't want it to be just babysitting'

EDGEWOOD, Ky. – When Patsy Carter heard about a program at Caywood Elementary that could help her prepare her four-year-old daughter for kindergarten, she and her husband resolved to go just once.

But after the Erlanger couple and their children sat down to a community dinner followed by separate sessions for parents and kids, they were hooked.

"We were just going to come for the first night, but the kids made sure we came back a second time," she said. "It's nice. You don't feel alone, like you're the only one going through whatever challenges a preschooler with too much energy brings."

Carter, an Erlanger resident with two daughters, 10 and 4, ended up completing the six-part program that has helped give her and her husband big and small tips on ways to convert everyday interaction into learning opportunities.

The program is called Bornlearning, which was created by Northern Kentucky University, United Way, and a workshop model developed by Tim Hanner, retired Kenton County school superintendent, to help parents of pre-kindergarten children engage them in educational and healthy ways.

An ever-growing avalanche of research indicates that kids have a much smoother path to academic and career success if they start kindergarten with essentials like getting along with other kids, knowing their colors and being familiar with the alphabet.

"For Northern Kentucky, Bornlearning is one of our key kindergarten-ready strategies," said Amy Neal, Northern Kentucky Success by Six manager.

The program has been so successful that Gov. Steve Beshear has dedicated another $1.4 million to expanding it into 150 more schools over the next four years.

The approach is a simple one. 

WCPO Insiders can read how the program works and what's next.

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