McDonough, GA – A common heart-breaking sight on the first day of school is Kindergarten students crying, scared, or refusing to get out of the car. The first step to school, is often frightening for children and their parents, especially for first-time.
Spring 2013 found assistant principal Lisa Travis of McDonough Elementary, completing an assignment for her doctoral class on, “Early intervention and its impact on younger students entering school.” While researching what other schools were doing, she began to think of ways McDonough Elementary could help rising Kindergartners’.
Thus sowing the seed for McDonough Elementary to host its first Kindergarten Camp.
Like any program it requires resources.
“While the school has a tremendous amount of Title 1 support and EIP support [Early Intervention Program] during the school year, there is little support for students over the summer, especially for incoming Kindergarten students,” stated Travis.
More EIP information can be found here PDF.
A call was made to Jodye Rowe-Calloway, Curriculum Coordinator for Henry County Schools, to discover what support may be available. She suggested using State Instructional Extension Program (SIEP) funds, also used for tutoring during the school year. From that point forward, Kindergarten Camp became a reality.
Camp this year was from July 15-26.
Casey Crumbley, a Kindergarten teacher at McDonough Elementary said. “Kindergarten Camp was a great opportunity to build rapport with students and parents,” Crumbley added. “It gave us two very easygoing weeks to get to know students on a personal level and expose them to the routines and expectations of kindergarten, along with making friends. They practiced name writing, written response to stories and learned about letters and numbers through music, art and literature. Students learned about safety on the playground and became familiar with the expectation of sitting in their own space and being attentive during stories being read aloud and discussions about literature. They also became excited about homework and sharing what they had accomplished that day with their family at home.”
Parent Gayla Smith, said. “Just in two weeks, I’ve seen my child’s letter formation improve,” Smith added. “I am glad he was given the opportunity to attend the camp and it should be something done every year.”
Tarika Andrews, another parent whose family is new to the area, was thrilled, as it enabled her daughter to make friends before school started. Dr. Faye Paul commented that her anxiety about how her child would respond to a new environment was removed. She thanked the school for providing this opportunity.
Dr. Jolie Hardin, principal at McDonough Elementary, “If our school can make the transition easier for our students and parents, the first few weeks of school will not be as terrifying.”
Dr. Hardin knows that walking into an unfamiliar building with unfamiliar people is not an easy thing for a five year-old to do, and as long as funding is available the school will continue to offer this very beneficial experience.
Dr. Jolie D. Hardin, Principal, McDonough Elementary School contributed to this article.
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