Program Gears Kids Up for Kindergarten
Chrissa Prestriedge wasn’t sure what would happen when son Drew started kindergarten.
“He’s so incredibly shy,” says the Dickinson mother of three. “He didn’t want to play with other kids.”
Then she heard about Gearing Up for Kindergarten and signed them up in fall 2009.
Gearing Up for Kindergarten is a 16-week school readiness program NDSU Extension Service educators developed. They began it as a pilot project in 2006-07 in partnership with Extension’s statewide network of Parent Resource Centers. Now it’s offered at 30 sites throughout the state (the number varies each year).
The program provides separate sessions where children learn school readiness skills (playing with others, taking turns, sensory and motor development, reading, math and science) and parents learn about parenting styles, children’s brain development, guidance and discipline, children’s learning styles and the importance of raising a reader. Parents and children also do learning activities together.
By the end of the program, Drew was playing with other children in the program, and when he sees other kids out in public, he talks to them, Prestriedge reports.
Fargoan Roxane Salonen, who also participated in the 2009-10 program with Nicholas, the youngest of her five children, says, “I think it helped him feel more ready for kindergarten, and especially since this was his first classroom experience, gave him confidence he might not have had otherwise. It also helped him realize that learning is fun.”
About 1,000 families have completed the program.
For more information, visit http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/gearupkindergarten.