Kindergarten Boot Camp
United Way partnered with Idaho Falls School District #91 to launch the first Kindergarten Boot Camp back in August of 2020. Since then, we have expanded from one to seven schools between Idaho Falls and Menan, Idaho. We will be expanding all the way up to Salmon by 2023!
By distributing a community survey for parents with incoming Kindergartners, we've learned that children hadn't participated in preschool prior to kindergarten because of the over-arching costs associated with preschool. We formed a goal to provide a cost-free kindergarten readiness program to help incoming Kindergarteners familiarize themselves with their classroom, build and develop healthy social skills, and introduce language and numerical concepts.
This goal has been put into action by hosting a 2-week long program at no cost to the family for all incoming Kindergarteners the August prior to each new school year. We also aim to build a stronger connection between the schools and parents by inviting parents to lunch with the students each day and to attend specific activities led by the United Way team to best prepare each student and family for the changes that come with school.
Assessments of students and surveys from parents, teachers, and administrators showed this program is a success! Observations from each year include:
- More than half of the parents felt significantly more comfortable leaving their children at school each day after having their child participate in the Kindergarten Bootcamp program.
- An overall improvement of the class’s behavior occurred based around the ability to work and play well with others, to express emotions and needs through appropriate language and actions, and to separate from parents.
- Each student knew how to introduce themselves with their first and last names and age by the end of the program, and more than two thirds of the participants could write their name by the end of Kindergarten Bootcamp.
United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County expects to significantly expand this program into other schools and other counties. If you would like more information about Kindergarten Boot Camp contact Alyssa Sherwood at email@example.com or 208-522-2674.
“This was a very good idea. All my concerns about sending my first child to school have gone away because of this program” -Parent of Kindergarten Bootcamp participant.