Early learning programs strengthen academic readiness

August 27, 2015


The Sage YMCA preschoolers are ready for the school year!"

The Sage YMCA preschoolers are ready for the school year. At the YMCA of Metro Chicago, our early learning programs focus on strengthening children’s academic readiness and preparing them for transitions, such as the important move to kindergarten.

Last year, the preschool classes at the Sage YMCA completed the nationally-recognized Bracken School Readiness Assessment to help measure their progress over the course of the year. The Bracken assessment covers basic concepts that contribute to starting school ready to succeed: colors, letters, numbers and counting, shapes, sizes and comparisons.

While Sage classrooms’ scores were relatively high in the fall, they rose dramatically over the course of the year. By spring, Sage preschool students increased their scores in all concepts tested in the assessment, and 100 percent of the children surpassed national benchmarks for kindergarten readiness.

The Bracken assessment has been tested for reliability and validity with thousands of children from classrooms across the country by comparing their Bracken results to their academic outcomes later in schooling. These types of measurement tools help the Y recognize how and when children achieve the objectives of educational programs. They also help teachers plan curriculums and activities.

The results of the Bracken come as no surprise to Sage’s teachers, whose eyes and ears are closely attuned to each child’s conceptual development. Sage teachers informally assess children’s learning throughout the year. They observe and document signs of children’s development to promote individualized learning for every child.

The results from the Bracken assessment speak to one component of children’s learning and development. In addition to these kindergarten readiness basics, YMCA preschools support children’s holistic development through experiential learning and by encouraging critical thinking. The Y nurtures physical, social and emotional readiness, so children are prepared to assess and solve problems and lead healthy, active lives.

We’re proud of our Sage YMCA preschoolers!