School Readiness

South Carolina’s long-term prosperity depends on the health and wellbeing of our state’s 350,000 babies, toddlers, and young children. Every one of them deserves an opportunity to thrive, but too few are getting the care and support they need from the start. By the time South Carolina’s young children arrive at school, more than half have already fallen behind.

In South Carolina, many young children face challenges that can be barriers to academic and career success.

48 percent of children ages 0-5 live in poverty or low-income households
54 percent of children ages 3-4 are not enrolled in preschool
10 percent of babies are born with low birthweight
 50 percent of children ages 0-5 are read to less than 4 days per week
61 percent of kindergartners not ready to start school

Unfortunately, those who start behind often stay behind, leading to an achievement gap that persists into adulthood. Closing the gap after a child begins school is costly and difficult. Our best chance to put children on the path to success is in the early years – before birth and through age five – when high-quality early interventions have the greatest long-term impact.

Explore More

  1. 5-Year Estimates: American Community Survey (2014-2018). Table B17024. US Census Bureau.
  2. 5-Year Estimates: American Community Survey (2014-2018). Table S1401. US Census Bureau.
  3. Births (2019). Vital Statistics: South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Accessed 17 Nov 2020. Available from: https://apps.dhec.sc.gov/Health/SCAN_BDP/tables/birthtable.aspx.
  4. Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. 2017-2018 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) data query (Indicator 6.7). Accessed 17 Nov 2020. Available from: www.childhealthdata.org.
  5. Analysis of Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) Results: School Year 2019-2020. Accessed 17 Nov 2020. Available from: https://eoc.sc.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/KRA/KRA%202020.reduced.pdf.