Early education is important to a child’s development and the Knox Community School Corporation is currently conducting a kindergarten camp for children who have not had any prior education experience. Eighteen students are enrolled in the camp that runs through the end of June.
The school corporation has partnered with IU Health Starke Hospital and United Way to present this unique opportunity to low-income and under-served children so they can get caught up with the skills recommended before they enter kindergarten.
Knox Director of Curriculum and Instruction Peggy Shidaker says those skills are what helps the child be successful in school.
“Our teacher and our aide are providing activities and instruction that will help support that successful transition into the education system for our students,” explained Shidaker. “Mrs. Rae and Mrs. Kisela are really working on those fine motor skills that are so necessary for kindergarten and even in preschool. They also work on those gross motor skills and they work on their visual, spacial skills that our children need to be successful in school.”
Some of those skills include cutting paper, Play-Doh activities, balancing, math skills, literacy skills and other motor skills that help in the brain’s development for understanding.
Shidaker noted that research has shown that 85 percent of the child’s brain growth happens before the age of five.
“Research has also shown that children who do not have any kind of preschool experience prior to entering kindergarten are developmentally behind other students,” Shidaker explained. “It is the goal of camps like kindergarten camp, and even the preschool that we have been able to provide, to help these students so they are not developmentally or academically behind when they start kindergarten.”
The development of children in preschool and kindergarten is also reflective of how that child progresses in their academic career. Approximately 40 percent of children coming into the Knox Community School Corporation as kindergarten students have not had preschool experience.
IU Health Starke Hospital is providing volunteers during the kindergarten camp and each student will receive a book to take home to read.
Shidaker said the kids are enjoying coming to school and history has shown that students show progress when they complete the class.