For more than 15 years, Kindergarten Success Institutes (KSI) have been making a huge difference in the lives of 4-6 year old children from low-resource neighborhoods by helping them get ready to succeed in school. These kids have little or no educational experience and are often terrified at being away from home. They have extremely limited knowledge of letters, numbers, shapes, and colors; and haven’t learned classroom behaviors like sitting quietly, raising their hand, or sharing with others. If they don’t acquire those skills, their academic futures are severely at risk.
Alex’s story – At the beginning of his Kindergarten Success Institute sessions, Alex was fearful of being away from home, where he enjoyed the warmth and attention of his primary caregiver. He began most morning during those early weeks in tears – sometimes for up to two hours. Because free or affordable preschool is not available in all Santa Barbara neighborhoods, he had not yet learned to follow directions in a group, or identify shapes and letters. Without individualized help, Alex was already behind his peers – and at risk of staying behind.
Over the course of the KSI program, Alex became comfortable with his new surroundings and discovered a love of reading. At the end of KSI, Alex was recognized as one of the star readers in his class and enjoyed celebrating with his teachers and classmates at Harding Elementary School.