Community Action Southwest established the Kindergarten Club to increase school readiness and school success for children entering kindergarten.
Community Action Southwest (CAS) created the Kindergarten Club (a) to help ease the transition into the school system for children entering kindergarten and (b) to increase parent and child interaction and increase parent involvement in their children’s education.
The Kindergarten Club is carried out in collaboration between CAS and the public school system. CAS also partners with the Greene County Early Care and School Success Community Engagement Team. The program is open to families at any income level. A series of eight sessions are conducted over a 4-week period in the larger school districts (two days a week for 2 hours each). The smaller districts run a series of four sessions over a 4-week period (1 day a week for 2 hours each). Sessions are held in the kindergarten classroom and involve the children along with their parent(s) or other caregiver.
Program recruitment occurs through distribution of a Kindergarten Club brochure provided to parents during Grade-K registration and a letter sent to parents of incoming kindergarteners. All participants must complete the CAS Intake Form, Income Verification, Medical Information Sheet and a Media Release Form.
A Kindergarten Club Pre-Questionnaire is completed at the beginning of the program to enable parents to indicate their expectations and to offer information on their child’s skill levels. A Welcome To Kindergarten Club Handbook is given to each parent to explain the program and to offer some helpful information about getting ready for school.
Kindergarten Clubs are offered by CAS at all 5 school districts in Greene County. The parents are engaged by separating them into two teams to remain in the room for one hour each while the other group of parents meet separately to plan for the next session and learn how to help their child prepare for school and how to assist their child in being successful in school. Future opportunities for parent involvement are also highlighted.
The first session for each Kindergarten Club is a Teddy Bear Picnic theme that is continued through the second session. Parents commit to bringing snacks on a rotating basis. A Daily Attendance and In-Kind Record is maintained and parents complete an evaluation form at the end of each session.
101 families participated in the 2009 Kindergarten Club. Results include:
- 90% experienced an easier transition into kindergarten and the school system based on data from questionnaires completed by parents at the end of the sessions. Information was also gained on new friends/contacts made during the program and on increased familiarity with the school facility and routines.
- 80% of participating parents reported they would become involved in their child’s school activities based on information.
- Other – Teachers were surveyed to secure additional data regarding the ease of transition and parent involvement among families attending Kindergarten Club.
Darlene Bigler, Executive Director