Bridge to Kindergarten Summer Academy 2012
The Bridge to Kindergarten (B2K) program was established in the summer of 2009, this year marking our 4th year of programming. The B2K program is for in-coming Project GRAD kindergarten students and their parents, offering educational, enrichment, and support services to not only ease the transition into kindergarten, but also to deliver knowledge, skills, and school engagement activities with long-term benefits.
This year we welcomed forty-one (41) students and their parents to our summer academy which was held at Schumacher Community Learning Center (CLC), August 6th through 17th. Our program partners, Akron Public Schools and Kent State University, have continued to be integral to our successful program outcomes. Dr. Janice Kroeger, Assistant Professor of Early Learning at Kent State, has provided expertise in strengthening early learning and has designed our curriculum to promote kindergarten readiness with a strong focus on literacy. Additionally, our classroom teaching assistants from Kent State University join us through the federal work-study America Reads program. Akron Public Schools has provided not only the space for our program, but also our students received breakfast and lunch each day of the program through the Akron Public Schools’ Child Nutrition program. Both Schumacher and Crouse CLC’s staff have supported our recruitment process and continued with outreach efforts to parents whose children participate in the program.
Of the forty-one students who attended this summer’s academy, twenty-five were enrolled at Schumacher CLC and 16 were enrolled at Crouse CLC. Of the students, thirty-six had attended pre-school and our gender ratio of boys to girls was almost even. Our average daily attendance rate was 95.4 percent.
Our daily classroom schedule included music and movement, math, literacy, social emotional, self expression, gross motor play, and phonics work. Children learned in small-group centers and also received individualized teaching. As children moved through the daily activities, they were guided to understanding the importance of transitions, from center to center, from classroom to another location, and received instructions from the building principal on hallway and cafeteria etiquette. This year we collected data through the AIMSWeb Benchmark and Monitoring System to determine the efficacy of our literacy and math curriculum. The data is currently being analyzed through Kent State’s research department.
In addition to the student focus, we have continued to provide a parent program to encourage parent involvement in their child’s education. This year we oriented parents about the program with a parent workshop that included program expectations, daily routines their children would follow; and we provided an opportunity for parents to hear from and ask questions of several Project GRAD kindergarten teachers and Schumacher’s principal, Ms. Brandi Davis. Additionally, this year we provided a field trip for Crouse students and parents to Crouse CLC so they were able to tour the building and meet key staff to increase their knowledge of the building and increase their comfort level.
On the last day of the program, we welcomed over one hundred seventy-five (175) guests to our Culmination Ceremony. We enjoyed breakfast, fellowship, and a program featuring students' work and songs performed using American Sign Language that the children had learned. Each child received a B2K Backpack complete with school supplies. Additionally, each child received a parent-child activity book, a family reader, Small Smiles toothbrush, and a voucher from PNC Bank redeemable for a family math kit. Children were very excited to present their parent(s) with a memory book of their work compiled over the two week program.
The Bridge to Kindergarten program will continue during the school year with monthly workshops for parents. Each workshop is designed to address parent questions and concerns, as well as provide parents with activities they can do at home with their child to encourage reading and continue to cultivate their relationship with their child’s school and academic journey.
This year’s Bridge to Kindergarten Program has been funded by Akron Community Foundation’s Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Fund and Target.