Two Western Kentucky Schools to Host Learning Academies

Schools in Henderson and Owensboro will start helping parents get their child ready for kindergarten.
Studies show nearly three out of four Kentucky children aren't ready for kindergarten. To fix that, two western Kentucky schools and a major car maker are introducing a new program.

The Toyota bornlearning Academy is already in place at more than twenty schools across Kentucky. Parents and school administrators hope it gets kids to act like they were born ready for school. Kindergartners need more than a full backpack to be ready for school, they need a full mind.

"It's very important for me to get the tools and the tips when he's ready," says Hayley Mortis of Henderson. She's getting her 3-year-old son ready when he starts.

"We started working on our letters and shapes and go over his alphabet at night," she says. "I got a workbook that we started working on."

But not every child is.

"Statistics show that about 2/3 to 3/4 of Kindergartners are not ready for school whenever they come to elementary school," says Chris Covington, a family resource coordinator at Foust Elementary School. That's why Foust Elementary in Owensboro and South Heights Elementary in Henderson are starting Toyota bornlearning Academies. The free program helps parents get their kids ready for kindergarten, showing them how to use everyday events as teachable moments.

"The example I use is you go to the grocery, you pick up an orange, you tell your child, 'This is an orange. It's round. It's orange colored.' So, those kind of simple little things, everyday learning opportunities for the families," says Helen Carroll of Toyota.

"I want him to be on the level with all of the other kids that are starting kindergarten when he's ready," Mortis adds.

Owensboro school officials say they plan to enroll twenty families for their first workshop. Classes are scheduled to start next month.

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