For many of Santa Barbara’s littlest learners without preschool experience, the transition to kindergarten can be a difficult adjustment. Kindergarten will be their very first exposure to classroom learning and can reveal that they are behind their peers. These students often are afraid to be away from home and family for the first time; have very limited knowledge of letters, numbers, shapes, and colors; may not have learned classroom behaviors like sitting quietly, raising their hands, or sharing; and some may not know their own name.
During Kindergarten Success Institutes (KSI), United Way and its partners provide students tools for success in kindergarten and beyond. KSI’s curriculum and credentialed teachers help more than 200 students master essential social/emotional, language, motor and approach to learning skills Last year, participants improved their kindergarten readiness scores by 55%, ensuring that they are able to keep up with their peers starting on day one!
Your support of Kindergarten Success Institutes makes success stories like Michael’s* possible. Michael had never been away from home without a family member. His English skills were very limited, his entry level assessment skills were low, and he could not respond when asked his name.
After just a few days in KSI, he became comfortable and was joyful and eager to participate in everything, even raising his hand for clarification when needed and patiently working his way to understanding. He was always the first student to arrive, excited for class to begin, and never missed a day of school.
By the end of KSI, he had mastered simple tools like scissors and pencils, he was successfully writing his name at every opportunity, and he was ready to enter kindergarten with the necessary basic skills to support his confidence and learning. KSI made the transition into kindergarten much easier for Michael as he was now ready, excited, and better equipped to learn.
As 20-year KSI instructor, Krista Munizich, puts it, “Kindergarten Success Institutes provide a foundation for children which cannot be measured by an assessment… It provides an opportunity for children to enter school as confident students.”
*Name changed for privacy