4-29-16 Kindergarten Readiness Camp
Posted On:
Friday, April 29, 2016
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Today we know more than ever about how children learn and develop and the best ways to support their early learning. Studies show that children from low-income families are more likely to start school with limited language skills, health problems, and social and emotional problems that interfere with learning. The larger the gap at school entry, the harder it is to close. The academic success of children in later years depends heavily upon their kindergarten readiness. 

Kindergarten readiness has often been defined as a child’s skills and behaviors related to the expectations within the classroom. However, based upon a wealth of research, a child’s readiness for school should be measured and addressed across five domains:

·         Physical Well-Being and Motor Development

·         Social and Emotional Development

·         Approaches to Learning

·         Language Development

·         Cognition and General Knowledge 

These five domains represent a comprehensive approach to understanding kindergarten readiness, recognizing the various elements that influence a child’s learning experiences.  

Furthermore, research shows that the transition from early childhood care settings or home to kindergarten is a significant milestone in the lives of young children, their families, and their teachers. A smooth transition into kindergarten forms the basis for later academic achievement and success. When transitions are well-planned, children have fewer adjustment problems and more continuous developmental progress3. This research substantiates the need for supporting the connections between schools and families to ensure a smooth transition into kindergarten.                                                                                              
CAMP DESIGN

To help children make a successful transition into kindergarten, a two week, ten day readiness camp was designed to provide children and families opportunities to becoming familiar with their new school environment, meeting school staff, making new friends and engaging in early learning activities. 

SUGGESTED DAILY SCHEDULE

Below is an example of what a typical day might look like in a kindergarten readiness camp that runs from approximately 8:30am to 12:30 pm.  The Kindergarten Readiness Camp Sample Schedule & Suggested Activities provides a sample camp schedule along with sample ideas for each of the activities listed below.

 8:30 - 8:45       Arrival  

8:45 - 9:00       Opening Song or Activity 

9:00 - 9:45       Calendar and Morning Circle Time

9:45 - 11:00     Learning Centers & Teacher Directed Small Group Activity Time

11:00 - 11:30     Snack & Recess/Outdoor Play

11:30 - 12:00    Story Time & Extension Activity

12:00 - 12:30    LUNCH

12:30 - 12:40    Goodbye Songs & Dismissal   

FRIDAY ACTIVITIES

The first and last Friday camp activities will vary slightly. On the first Friday, children will have the opportunity to go on an In-School Field Trip. During their “field trip,” children will become familiar with their new school by touring the building, meeting other school staff members, and participating in fun and engaging literacy activities that support their learning from the first week of camp. 

A Family Literacy Event will occur on the last Friday of camp. This special culminating activity is an opportunity for families and children to participate in active learning station activities designed to support their child’s development in early literacy skills.  

SUPPORTING FAMILIES

Families play a fundamental role in their child’s transition to kindergarten and their continued academic success. Research from the National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools has found that early care and education programs that have family components can boost children’s educational success. Strategies in which schools help parents support children’s literacy and numeracy skills, for instance, can produce gains, particularly among children from low- and middle- income families. 

In addition, the transition from home or an early care setting to kindergarten is an opportunity to involve parents or guardians and create continuity in children’s educational environment. In an effort to support families through this transition, the Kindergarten Readiness Camp will include a variety of activities and practices addressing the needs of the families. 

On the first day of camp, a Family Workshop will be conducted with parents and family members to review basic strategies for ensuring a successful transition to kindergarten. This will run concurrently to activities for children. Topics will include the importance of setting routines, review of the Kindergarten Readiness Checklist, school-specific enrollment information and more. During this workshop, families will also have the opportunity to meet with school administration and staff, as well as network with other incoming kindergarten families. To support continued learning throughout the summer months in preparation for Kindergarten, families will receive a Family Literacy kit to take home with activities, materials, books, and other resource. As described above, the Family Literacy Event will serve as a culminating camp event and provide families an additional opportunity to learn activities and skills to support their children academically.  

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