The Rapides Foundation's Education Initiative includes a focus on School Readiness to ensure children are ready to enter kindergarten.
Statistics show one third of Louisiana kindergarten students are considered below grade level and are at risk of reading failure unless appropriate intervention is provided. Studies also show children who attend some type of early childhood program before kindergarten are more likely to complete high school and go through their entire school careers without repeating a grade.
School Readiness Institutes
Funded by The Rapides Foundation, The Orchard Foundation administers School Readiness Institutes for eligible Central Louisiana Pre-K, Head Start and childcare centers that are participating in the state of Louisiana’s Early Childhood System Community Network pilot programs.
The training is presented by Teachstone, and provides additional opportunities for Community Network pilot participants to receive the state-approved training.
Early Childhood Literacy
Noticing a need for added emphasis on developing literacy skills in children before they enter school, The Rapides Foundation is funding the development and implementation of the early literacy program Read to Soar throughout the region. The purpose of Read to Soar is to help develop and strengthen a culture of reading at home by educating parents, building a child's home library, and increasing awareness about community resources to help ensure the child has the tools for school success. Administered by The Orchard Foundation, the Read to Soar program kicked off in 2018.