It is critical to help young children be ready for school by working with them to develop their reading and learning skills. With this in mind this past August, United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County, Idaho Falls School District #91 and Hawthorne Elementary organized the first Kindergarten Bootcamp in our region. Kindergarten Bootcamp is a program that targets kids who have had little or no previous school experience. Our goal was to help incoming Kindergartners familiarize themselves with the classroom, build and develop healthy social skills, and introduce language and numerical concepts.
Hawthorne invited incoming Kindergartners to come to school August 3rd to August 13th, Monday through Thursday. There was a variation of multi-step activities that focused on early kinder-concepts. Some of which included: INL Stem Kit Glove-a-phones, painting names, school scavenger hunts, stain- glass window bookmarks, rhyming booklets, alphafriends bingo, and a visit from the aquarium sponsored by United Way IF.
In a short two weeks we noticed progress in confidence and comfortability in our kindergarten participants. Based on surveys parents expressed they felt more comfortable and that their kids were ready for school this year because of this program. Katherine Francis, the Principal of Hawthorne, on the first day of school said “Our kindergarteners that attended bootcamp walked into school on the first day with so much confidence and knew what was expected of them. Their parents also were much more comfortable letting their babies go on the first day of school.”