WV A Step Ahead In Kindergarten Requirements

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Are 4 year olds ready for kindergarten? The state of Tennessee is looking to find that out with a new maturity test.

While some states are cracking down on stricter requirements for Kindergarten, West Virginia is already a step ahead.

"The law states that you must be five by August 31st. Kids who turn five in September and October can take a readiness test to start early entry," Director of Elementary Education for Wood County Schools, Karen Brunicardi says.

That test includes having basic social standards. Other states call it "maturity testing."

"They have to be able to wait turns and sit beside someone and not be invading their space you know, keeping their hands to themselves, being able to walk down the hallway in an orderly manner. Making friends, sharing, and then some academic questions to see if the children are more in line with a five year old than a four year old."

But The Mountain State's had a game plan for awhile, preparing four year olds for an easy transition into Kindergarten.

"Now with West Virginia having universal Pre-K, we have school for four year olds, and there's not as much as a demand now for the early entry into Kindergarten."

School officials say it's really all about making sure kids can get along with others.

"All of those are the type of social emotional things that students...it's difficult to teach that at home if it's just one child by himself, but you bring him into Pre-K or Kindergarten, those are the types of things they are taught and expected to do."

If the bill passes in Tennessee, reports say it could save the state 21 million dollars a year, and districts could save 11 million dollars, but Wood County Schools say West Virginia most likely won't see those changes because we already have similar structures in place.

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