Fraser Ready 4 K program prepares kids for kindergarten tasks

Fraser School's Ready 4 K program, which prepares 5-year-olds for kindergarten, already shows strong results just a year after its inception.

In that time, the program located at 2400 W. 64th St. has already doubled. It started off with one classroom; now there are two fully enrolled classes of 28 kids.

Ready 4 K, a statewide program, confronts statistics from the Minnesota Department of Education that show only half of children statewide are prepared for kindergarten in their physical well-being, motor development, personal and social skills, creativity, language and analytical thinking.

Fraser officials say that 75 percent of students mastered language skills, up from 32 percent last year. About 79 percent of the kids developed advanced knowledge about letters and explored writing, while 89 percent displayed an eagerness to learn.

At Fraser's Ready 4 K program, activities are longer than usual for preschoolers, in an effort to lengthen kids' attention spans. The program stresses broad-ranging content, hands-on activities, conceptual learning, meaningful experiences, interactive teaching, cooperative learning and Skills Promoted through Arts, Reading and Knowledge (SPARK), a program for special needs kids.

One of the school's main goals is to make the classroom inclusive. That means special needs students learn from other students and vice versa within the same classroom. There's also an antiviolence component. Kids talk about empathy and other things that control emotions, said Hall.

As children complete work, the teacher keeps a portfolio of student achievement that documents his or her progress, gauging development of personal, social and literacy skills.

For more information about the program, call 861-1688 or go to www.fraser.org.