“Ready or not, here we come”…..Transitioning to preschool and kindergarten was a major focus in the region during the months of May and June. One of the strategies in our Regional Action Plan is “Children and families are supported during transition to preschool/kindergarten”. Several community and school-based groups applied for funding through a partnership between the Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA) Parent Child Center and the BBF Council to provide transition activities to families and children in local communities throughout the region.
In St Johnsbury, the St Johnsbury School hosted two kindergarten “Move Up” days and provided transportation to children from local childcare centers and preschool programs. All children received a “Welcome to Kindergarten” bag and a Class of 2032 “Kindergarten Rocks” t-shirt. Bags and t-shirts are also being distributed to home school families through community health workers, the special education teacher and the speech and language pathologist. Visits included tours of the school, and during the second visit, the children participated in circle time, small group activities in the classroom; a snack in the cafeteria and recess with their teachers. In July, “Welcome to Preschool” bags will be assembled and distributed to children entering preschool programs throughout the community.
At the Blue Mountain Supervisory Union Preschool program in Wells River, 4 evening events for preschool children and their families were offered during the year to give parents an opportunity to become comfortable and make a connection with the staff. The themes for the 4 events were, “Preschool Family Math Night”, “Kindergarten Readiness Night”, “Messy/Sensory Play Night” and an end of the year celebration. The school was also able to provide transportation to children enrolled at a local childcare center to enable their participation in the Kindergarten Transition activities.
The Kingdom East School District serving the towns of Burke, Concord, Lyndonville, Lunenburg, Newark, Sutton and Sheffield and the Starting Points Network for Lunenburg, Concord and Gilman collaborated to provide transition bags for children entering preschool and kindergarten. The bags included information for parents on Child Development (“Help Me Grow” booklets and magnets), a NAEYC publication providing information/guidance for families on transitioning to kindergarten; and a booklet with activities to do at home to prepare for kindergarten. A variety of creative materials for the children including a white board, markers and crayons, paper, scissors, a glue stick, water colors and math focused activity sheets and children’s books were also included. The bags were distributed at Kindergarten and Preschool screenings, and delivered to Preschool programs throughout the community.
The Caledonia Central Supervisory Union developed early literacy bags to distribute at their preschool screening sites for children transitioning to preschool in the five communities within the school district- Barnet, Danville, Peacham, Waterford and Walden. The bags contained high quality books, story props, writing materials and parent resources. They also developed birth to age 3 early literacy bags to promote early literacy for infants and toddlers at home. These bags were given to families that attended the Preschool Screening and had younger siblings, and will be distributed throughout the summer to families that did not participate at a screening.
Upcoming Regional Council Meetings
The next BBF Regional Council Meeting is scheduled for Monday August 19, 2019 (no meeting in July) at the VT Department of Health conference room in St Johnsbury from 5:30-7:00pm. Anne Latulippe for the VT Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance will be providing a legislative wrap up to the Council.