Unit 4 and United Way Partner to Help Young Students Prepare for Kindergarten

Wed, 08/28/2019 - 2:31pm

Champaign Unit 4 Schools, in partnership with the United Way, held Kindergarten Readiness Camps in July to help engage families in preparing their young students for the start of school. Three separate two-evening camps were held at Stratton, Garden Hills, and Booker T. Washington Elementary Schools.

Nearly 75 families participated, allowing parents and children the opportunity to learn more about what to expect when they begin school. Camps included parent informational sessions, teachers working with students, meeting with school staff, parent and child activities and dinner. The sessions provided parents with “a day in the life of Kindergarten” and helped expose them to their children’s curriculum while supplying strategies to support their child’s learning and information about available school resources to assist students and their families.

Kindergarten Readiness Camps are a collaboration among participating schools, Unit 4’s administration and community schools initiative, the United Way, and community partners. The program was open to all incoming kindergarteners with an emphasis at targeting students from low-income families and those who have not had the benefit of formal pre-school learning experiences. An emphasis on social and emotional learning helped create familiarity and comfort with the school and classroom environment, build social skills and relationships that support student engagement, and generate excitement about learning.

The United Way of Champaign County provided funding for the camps. Additional partners included the Champaign Public Library, which signed up over 60 families for library cards, and Champaign Unit 4 Transportation, which provided bus tours and expectations. Dinner donations were provided by Busey, Carle, Champaign Rotary West, El Toro, Martin Hood, and Rosatti’s.