Born in Baltimore

By: Faith Connolly, Executive Director, Baltimore Education Research Consortium and Jeffrey Grigg, Johns Hopkins University

Two children sit next to each other on the first day of kindergarten at Gwynns Falls Elementary School in the Gwynns Falls community. The first child is embarking on her third year of formal education and her second year at Gwynns Falls. As a three-year-old she attended an Emily Price Jones Head Start program at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church for a year before she “graduated” to the four-year-old Pre-Kindergarten program at Gwynns Falls. Now that she is five, not only has she already been introduced to foundational knowledge in literacy and mathematics, she is emerging as an expert at navigating school culture: She knows the rhythm of a school day, and the norms of interacting with peers and adults in school settings.

The other child has been cared for by an informal network of family members and acquaintances; she has had less exposure to the building blocks of formal schooling and lacks familiarity with the norms and rhythms of a typical, structured school day.

This scenario describes the challenges service providers, especially Baltimore City Public Schools, experience. These different pathways from birth to Kindergarten reflect varying levels of Kindergarten readiness seen in children when they enter school at age five.

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Kim Eisenreich January 20, 2016 Blog