The United Way of Defiance County celebrated five years of Kindergarten Camp from Aug. 12-16. Kindergarten Camp offerd a week-long kindergarten experience for students in Defiance County entering kindergarten who were identified during the screening process as needing additional preparation. The students were taught social skills, following instructions, holding a book, and fine motor skills including writing their name.
Each public elementary school, five in total, in Defiance County invited students to attend at their respective schools. The children were able to experience what a school day will be like for them before school begins. Kindergarten Camp aims to prepare the students for academic and social readiness for their first year of their academic career.
Kindergarten Camp was started five years ago by the United Way of Defiance County, in collaboration with the Defiance County schools after conversations about the lack of readiness for almost half the children entering kindergarten. The United Way of Defiance County provides the financial support, with help from a General Motors Foundation grant for each school to employ the teachers and aids, supplies, and books for the week-long program, as well as lunches for the camp.
When asked about their experience leading Kindergarten Camp, one teacher’s comment, “I enjoy having the students beg me to read them stories. It is amazing how many students are not read to. They love to sit and listen to books of all kinds. I would have to say that that is my ultimate favorite moment of Kindergarten Camp. I love to instill the love for reading in my students and those are the moments of camp that I cherish and feel like I am making a difference to my kiddos!”
Another teacher commented on the difference she saw in the students in just a week’s time, “I like how the students get a head start on the year. They become familiar with the school, and they can be leaders on the first day of school.”
This year, the Women’s Giving Circle, including employees from Credit Adjustments Inc. and Citizens in Action, helped prepare nutritious lunches each day and 670 lunches were provided to the students and support staff.