Serving Monroe, Owen, and Greene Counties

Kindergarten Countdown Camp a Success!

On July 18, 2013 a special group of Bloomington children wrapped up Kindergarten Countdown, a camp helping kids prepare for school success. For the last three years, this partnership between IU Health, the Monroe County Community School Corporation, and United Way of Monroe County has helped families navigate the kindergarten registration process and prepare students academically and socially for school.

Tim Pritchett, Director of School Age Care for MCCSC, spoke about the importance of this camp, “The Kindergarten Countdown initiative provides a critical jump start on kindergarten skills during the summer months for these children. We were once again thrilled to be partnered with IU Health and United Way to offer such an important kindergarten preparation camp in Bloomington."

In Indiana, 61% of children ages 3-5 do not attend preschool, far exceeding the 40% national average. Children with less exposure to the social-emotional skills and literacy concepts needed for kindergarten are prone to start and stay behind their more-prepared classmates.

On the other hand, Ashley Hall, Community Initiatives Director at United Way commented, “Children who enter kindergarten prepared have greater chances to succeed throughout school and in life, so focusing on early childhood is a top priority. The assessments at the end of camp indicated these children are now better prepared to enter kindergarten. They are on the path to success!"

The lessons extend beyond letter recognition and counting. For most children, this camp represents the first experience in the classroom. Kids learn to raise their hands, work independently and in groups, and build many other behavioral and social skills that will be key to their school success. Beyond the camp curriculum, United Way hosted a literacy activity with the kids halfway through camp. They read aloud the B is for Bloomington book, a locally created children’s book that helps children and caregivers explore our community, one letter at a time. The conversation-based, child-led reading activity helped the children work on letter identification, rhyming, matching, and comprehension, all while learning about landmarks, public art, exciting places to play, and other distinct features of our local community.

This year, IU Health funding also supported adding active-based learning techniques to the curriculum. Studies show that tactile learning activities, like imaginative play mats, wooden gears, and jump ropes, are an effective way to engage and teach kids. These resources were enjoyed by the camp and will be utilized by the pre-k and kindergarten classrooms for years to come. On the last day of camp, IU Health presented each child with a Kindergarten Countdown t-shirt and a backpack. Filled with all the items on kindergarten classroom supply lists, the backpacks also included local early education materials and the B is for Bloomington book for each student to take home.

Connie Hill, Director of Volunteer & Visitor Services at IU Health Bloomington explained, "Kindergarten Countdown is part of a statewide effort reaching hundreds of kids. Working with pre-kindergarten children preparing for their first day at kindergarten is rewarding for each of us but more importantly, it is beneficial for each child.  Preparing for kindergarten helps to equip these children for life-long learning.”


Do you feel passionate about strengthening education supports in our community?

Please consider donating to the United Way Education Priority Fund. This fund helps children achieve their potential through cradle-to-career initiatives that ensure kids enter kindergarten ready to learn and graduate high school ready to earn success in college or career.

Want to learn more about the other building blocks for a good life? Visit Earnings and Essentials to see how we are making an impact.



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