BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The number of 4- and 5-year olds in Baltimore schools is up.  They’re the district’s youngest students and as Gigi Barnett explains, school leaders say the sooner they’re in class, the better.

For Baltimore City school leaders, this is the building block of education: pre-K and kindergarten classes.

Now after a four-year thrust to boost pre-K classes in the city, a new report released this week shows the number of 4-year-olds ready to learn in a kindergarten class by the time they turn 5 is up by 18 percent from last school year to this school year.

“We see the kids who come to kindergarten without having pre-K,” said Charlene Iannone-Campbell. “We really see that they’re not ready, as ready as the 4-year-olds who do come to pre-K.”

Iannone-Campbell is the district’s director of early learning. She says the school system wanted to expand its pre-K classes so smaller students can learn as much and as soon as possible.

“Pre-K is the engine that’s driving school reform at this point. It used to be the caboose. Nobody thought about early learning. But now research has shown a lot of the studies coming out that we get them early,” Iannone-Campbell said.

“They’re like little sponges,” said Therese Iwancio, kindergarten teacher. “They just want to absorb everything.”

Iwancio is the lead kindergarten teacher at Belmont Elementary in Northwest Baltimore.

The school has a wait list for its pre-K classes. Iwancio says it’s in part because parents know that early learning is more than just coloring within the lines.

“We know that it starts right here, laying the foundation for their future educational goals,” Iwancio said.

Kindergarten teachers say the best thing for parents to do is enroll their 4-year-olds into pre-K as soon as possible, especially at schools where there is a long waitlist for next school year.

City schools’ pre-K enrollment started on Monday.

Comments (7)
  1. willie man hanging says:

    What kind of horse s….t is this? One week their falling behind, the next they’re surpassing the national average. Who makes up this garbage?

  2. Michael says:

    This is kids being ready for Kindergarten… show me a child not ready for kindergarten.

    The News clip should really say…

    “Baltimore children are exceedingly ready for finger painting and nap time, but quickly fall off on their preparedness to attend the follow-on grades of one through twelve”.

  3. CATHY says:

    How come there is something about kids in schools they are all black,do not white kids go to school or kindergarden,

  4. Bernard Mc Kernan says:

    Cathy, Because its a bit of a miracle when Black kids even go to school. Grandma let’s them stay home & watch Fat Albert or some other B.S. ..BET T.V. sponsored show.

    1. Silly People Annoy Me says:

      Could your comment be more rude and racist? Depending on the section of the city and gentrification of certain areas, they may be in an area that is heavily ethnically populated. Please show us all that you have gotten past kindergarten by improving your manners.

  5. Jennifer Williams says:

    Let’s be glad that pre-K helps kids enter school with the social and cognitive skills they need to succeed, And it does so in communities all over Maryland, not just in Baltimore City. I, for one, am glad to have my tax dollars spent on this every effective program for young children.

  6. Melissa says:

    @ Cathy, go back and read this story. It does not discuss a thing about “black” kids or “white” kids. It simply discusses the pre-k programs in Baltimore and how reports indicate the benefits for children regarding early childhood education.

    Apparently some people didn’t learn any reading comprehension while in elementary school…..

    I am just going to ignore the racial comments because obviously people get on here and blog things that they would not dare say aloud. With that being said, I’m just going to accept the fact that some people are just ignorant and racist.

    Moving on, my child is currently in a 3 year old, Pre-school program at a county public school for 3 hours a day. I am thankful and appreciative that such a program has been implemented and offered to families like mine. My child loves it, has learned more than finger painting and nap time, and has improved within the areas of speech and cognitive behaviors.

    Whoever is opposed to the idea of early education, obviously needs some for themselves. I am all for it!

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