Preparing children for Kindergarten

Local News
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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Going to Kindergarten can be rough, but not for these kids.

It’s a week before school starts and they are already hitching a ride on the school bus and in the classroom. It’s a part of a Kindergarten Boot Camp. Now, dozens of kids in Decatur are getting a head start.

Melanie Martinez is excited for the first day of school, and she’s not the only one. It’s not even the first day of school, and these kids are pumped and ready to be in a classroom.

This week, they’re getting a head start, thanks to a partnership with their school and community organization Ed-Co.

Teacher Sara Barnett is also excited. “The second I saw my kids come in for the camp, I was just already so excited to meet them, and have them in my room, and be the one chosen to be their teacher. I’m so really excited.”

Ms. Barnett says this program helps kids prepare for a sometimes emotional first week. “When they come in, they have no classroom experience. This is so overwhelming, it scares them and they come in, and you can see it all over their faces.”

More than half of kids in Macon County do not attend preschool. Educators say it’s because many do not have access. That’s why this free program is so important.

“Some of the programs cost, and some families can’t afford to send their kids to Pre-K programs,” said principal Tanya Young. “If it’s a positive experience. it sets the tone for their entire school life.”

Kids in the program are already learning important classroom rules, hoping to make next week a breeze for them and their teachers.

“When they’re come in my class at 7:45, they are smiling,” Barnett said.

These kids are ready to take on the world. Now, they will just have to help their parents get through it. “The kids are just like ‘Yeaaaa school’, and Mom and Dad are like ‘Hmmmm’,” Barnett said. “You know, you can see it that they need some encouragement, but it’s going to be awesome.”

This year, three schools in the Decatur school district participated in the program, and 75 kids graduated from Boot Camp.

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