Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Advocates Call For Classroom Cohesion Among Elementary And Preschools

Students at a pre-kindergarten camp in Avon, Ind., play a counting game. Many are calling on the legislature to expand the current pre-k pilot program to help more kids. (Elle Moxley/StateImpact Indiana)

Students at a pre-kindergarten camp in Avon, Ind., play a counting game. Many are calling on the legislature to expand the current pre-k pilot program to help more kids. (Elle Moxley/StateImpact Indiana)

One of Indiana’s leading preschool advocacy organizations wants the state to better align its elementary and preschool classrooms. The group says the disconnect can cause frustrating overlaps for both students and teachers.

The report from Early Learning Indiana says classroom cohesion for young children has important benefits – like more student progress and efficiency for teachers.

The report’s author, Karen Ruprecht, said that communication gaps between pre-K and elementary schools lead to a loss of valuable instruction time.

“Kindergarten teachers are spending a decent amount of time kind of backtracking for some of these kids, and going back to some of the basics that these kids who have been in high quality pre-K – they already know these things,” she said.

Ruprecht continued to say repeated lessons can cause young students to lose motivation. The state’s On My Way Pre-K program outlines tools for educators to track student progress, but not every kindergarten teacher knows which of their students have attended high quality preschools. This can create a challenge for pursuing what Ruprecht calls a “learning trajectory framework” and ensuring students receive lessons based on pre-existing skillsets.

Ruprecht added that communities can start working with schools now to find local solutions and improve the transition for young learners. She said community efforts are a great way to start making improvements without waiting for formal policy changes, but still recommends people encourage their state lawmakers to continue the discussion.

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