Ready-At-Five Program will assess school readiness

December 27, 2001

Ready-At-Five Program will assess school readiness


Preparing youngsters for success when they start school can help prevent adult illiteracy later on, a goal of the Ready-At-Five program that was launched Monday.

"We need to start early to better equip our children for school," said John Budesky, director of the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families.

The Ready-At-Five program is designed to provide parents with information to help them prepare their 5-year-olds for the classroom.

The effort targets approximately 200 families, who will be provided with information, reading material and age-appropriate toys, Budesky said.

"All of this will be included in a red and blue tote bag," he said. "Those 200 bags were purchased with a $700 contribution from the Hagerstown Rotary Club."

The rest of the program was made possible through Budesky's agency, which contributed $1,700.

Volunteers are carrying the message to the families they serve.


"As the packets are passed along to families during the holiday season, it is hoped that time for family closeness and sharing can be established," Budesky said.

The idea is not new to Washington County, where educators and others for years have been making efforts to prepare youngsters for school, Budesky said.

This new effort pulls together three agencies - the Washington County Family Center, Healthy Families of Washington County and Head Start.

"We are participating with them since they already have the clients," Budesky said.

Karen Christof of the Family Center said she welcomes the new tools.

"This program enriches the family involvement," Christof said. "It's a great enhancement."

Pat Firey of the Washington County Health Department was also excited.

"Adult illiteracy is so high here ... we need to address this early," Firey said.

Budesky said he will keep fully stocked tote bags in his West Washington Street office ready to be distributed to families. After they are handed out, the emphasis will be on tracking the success rate.

"We want to know it's effective so we'll be checking back in three months, six months and so on," Budesky said.

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