Kindergarten Countdown Camp: Michelle Crombie
We are thrilled to share the first post in our Kindergarten Countdown Camp (KCC) summer blog series. KCC kicked off on June 19th at Lyon Magnet Elementary in Waukegan. In our first post, Michelle Crombie, VP of Community Impact, shares her excitement for the first kindergarten camp of the summer:
Summer. Glorious summer is finally here! Long, exciting days filled with… school!
Yes, most of us think of summer as a time to spend away from school, but this week, in Waukegan, nearly 60 four-and-five-year-old children ran, jumped and skipped into their very first school classroom. They were excited, a little nervous, and ready to learn! It was quite a day!
Kindergarten Countdown Camp (KCC) is a free summer program for incoming kindergarten students who have little or no preschool experience. These children are far less likely to start kindergarten with the basic skills they need to keep up with their peers. And studies show that children who start kindergarten behind the rest of the class are likely to stay behind throughout their school years – unless they have some help.
That is why United Way of Lake County developed KCC and presents it in several low-income communities, in partnership with the local school district and with funding from the United Way of Lake County’s Women’s Leadership Council. The camp is taught by licensed, experienced teachers and takes place in a school setting. Volunteers and United Way staff ensure that every child gets the attention they need to improve their skills.
The lessons extend beyond letter recognition and counting. Kids learn to raise their hands, work independently and in groups, and build many other skills that will be key to their school success. And it really works! The assessments at the end of camp consistently show that these children are now better prepared to enter kindergarten.
But if you ask one of the children in KCC, they will tell you that they are there to have fun! And I am happy to report that they do. In the words of one 5-year-old girl, “This is going to be the best summer I ever had!”
I’m glad that summer is finally here, and I’m thrilled that this program will help so many children start on the pathway to success!