One of the most rewarding parts of each summer’s KinderCamp™ is that day when dozens of children in our region graduate from the month-long Pre-K program, a signature initiative of the United Way of Northern Arizona and its partners.
The event is known as the “bridging over” ceremony. It features students walking over arched steps, symbolically announcing that they are ready – academically, socially and emotionally – for kindergarten.
Begun 14 years ago as a way to boost early childhood education, the impact of the program is most pronounced for students who previously had not had a chance to be in a Pre-K classroom.
“Our daughter had limited engagement with other children her age prior to attending KinderCamp,” said one parent whose little girl attended this year. “I feel this will be hugely beneficial for her as she transitions to kindergarten.”
The seven northern Arizona schools that participated in KinderCamp this year all held their bridging ceremonies recently. Although each school had a different theme (Sailing into Kindergarten, Grow with Us, Kindergarten Superheroes) all celebrations of a very successful month of learning, sharing and helping get 280 children better prepared for that all-important first day of kindergarten.
“My son’s confidence grew as well as his alphabet and number knowledge,” said another parent. “Thank you!”
Another special part of the program is that in addition to teaching in the classroom, each KinderCamp instructor visits the child’s parents or caretakers in the home and brings a bag of school supplies, including a literacy kit. It’s an extra step to ensure guardians’ engagement in their child’s education.
The United Way of Northern Arizona would like to congratulate the KinderCamp students, parents, teachers and administrators at Killip, Kinsey, and Thomas elementary schools in Flagstaff; Williams Elementary School in Williams; Lake View Primary School in Page; Blue Ridge Elementary School in Lakeside, and Bonnie Brennan Elementary School in Winslow for another terrific KinderCamp program this year.