Early education programs have been more vital in recent years than they have been in the past. Due to the restrictions in the classroom from Covid-19, children entering school systems have been given a disadvantage when it comes to classroom socializing and learning. While not all states offer programs to help ease these students in, Michigan has offered a Young 5’s program for decades. 

What is Young 5’s 

Young 5’s acts as a transition year for incoming children that might have difficulty with learning cues, socializing, teamwork, etc. With most states having a cut-off for kindergarten registration due to age, this segue year allows children not in that age range the time to learn these different kinds of skills at a more comfortable pace in a smaller class size. Depending on the school and program chosen in your district, young 5 classes can be a full or half day and occur four or five days of the week. 

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Today’s Study on Transitional Programs 

Thanks to Covid-19 many states have begun to notice the need for a transitional program in their schools. While California has recently adopted a similar program to the Young 5’s, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) began a study in September 2021 to examine and showcase how transitional kindergarten programs help incoming students with their readiness, special education placement, literacy and math. Since kindergarten has a cut off by age, this study is focusing on other social aspects like race/ethnicity, free-reduced lunch status, and gender to determine if access to these types of programs better individuals with certain characteristics. This study also catalogues the criteria, curriculum, implementation and overall effectiveness of these transitional programs.

Why Programs Like This Matter

Now, more than ever, programs like this that focus on teaching children in all aspects to ensure they are truly ready for the curriculum and socializing that is needed after kindergarten. While the study will show how important programs like this would be throughout all of the U.S., Michigan residents have had access to programs like young 5's for decades. With the technological advancements of the twentieth century and adjustments from Covid-19, learning will never be the same for future generations and programs like this are helping children through any and all problems that these recent challenges have placed on today's kids.

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