"Half of five-year-olds aren't ready for kindergarten."
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Health and Human Services
May 29. 2011
Friday Harbor, WA (PRWEB) July 14, 2011
Pre K Scholars (http://www.prekscholars.com) is dedicated to providing fun, effective, interactive, affordable resources for parents and preschools to prepare 4-5 year olds for academic success.
We are setting up our children to fail in kindergarten in part because we have not provided parents with a fun, easy to use preschool curriculum that covers the academic basics of kindergarten readiness. Half of children entering kindergarten are not prepared for school success . More than one-third of middle class children and more than one-quarter of upper-middle class children do not know the alphabet. Half or more of parents surveyed, across all income categories, had trouble finding programs with high quality teachers or with a high quality learning environment. (Source: "The Argument for Pre-Kindergarten," The Trust for Early Education, Fall 2004)
A Washington State University study asked 305 kindergarten teachers their opinions about the preparedness of their students in 24 different areas across all domains of learning. Students were rated least prepared in alphabet, producing rhyming words, print concepts, form explanations, and counting to 20. Other weak areas included order/group objects, classify and compare, understand narrative, variety of strategies, and complex sentences. (Source: "Statewide Kindergarten Teacher Survey on School Readiness," Washington State University Social & Economic Sciences Research Center, January 2005)
The Pre K Scholars Kindergarten Readiness Kit began simply. In 2003 founder Amy Schwary, a kindergarten teacher who retired to start a family, became concerned that her oldest child might not be ready for kindergarten success. “I searched the internet and my community for a comprehensive pre kindergarten curriculum to no avail. Many preschools were focused primarily on socialization. Online I found phonics for children, handwriting drills for preschoolers, reading development exercises, and so forth, but each was an isolated, stand-alone product. Nothing readily connected one skill development effort to the next.” Schwary knew what she wanted, “… a comprehensive, integrated series of short fun lessons that my daughter would love. Lessons that build upon each other, reinforce each other, use common household items, and are playful yet relevant. With nothing available in the marketplace, I started creating it on my own, a process that took more than two years to complete.”
Schwary pulled together materials from a variety of sources and began teaching a 22-week kindergarten readiness course to eight four-year-olds in her home—ninety-minute classes once a week. Without advertising, she soon had three such classes, all with waiting lists. “The kids loved the classes and looked forward to their home activity assignments. The parents were delighted with the results and learned to how to create teachable moments at home. I was pleased to contribute to my family budget, earning $140 per 90-minute class each week.”
After hearing the stories about her classes, Schwary’s entrepreneurial father, Alan Pierrot, MD., encouraged Schwary to prepare her curriculum for sale on the internet with the thought that qualified moms around the country could start home-based preschools dedicated to kindergarten readiness. Together they founded Pre K Scholars in 2008.
The first Pre K Scholars products were directed toward home-based preschools and included a number of hard copy teacher resources such as phonics cards all in one kit, at costs ranging from $300-800. When parents expressed interest in a lower cost family oriented product, Pre K Scholars hired Digital Attic (http://www.digitalattic.com) to digitize all the material onto one DVD, the 2011 released Kindergarten Readiness Kit DVD. “Digitizing the material not only dropped the price from $300 to $39.95, it had other benefits that surprised us,” said Schwary. “Animating the Scholarville characters and the Guessing Game made the exercises even more fun and allowed the children to interact and learn without parental participation.”
“We are delighted with the acceptance of the kit,” said Schwary. “To market test the DVD we presented it to 180 homeschooling families in March-April this year and ninety purchased the DVD. That confirmed for us that we had the right product and the right price.”
To learn more about Pre K Scholars visit http://www.prekscholars.com
About Pre K Scholars
Founded in 2008, Pre K Scholars was developed by Amy Schwary and Alan Pierrot, MD with a vision of providing affordable resources to parents, teachers and preschools to enhance the kindergarten readiness of the population. The company is currently working on an iPhone and Android app to supplement it Kindergarten Readiness Kit DVD.