Kindergarten camp seeks to ease first day jitters

Photo by Tasha Stewart Lynn Camp kindergarten teacher Mrs. Stefanie Sizemore leads KinderCamp students in a counting activity.
Photo by Tasha Stewart
Lynn Camp kindergarten teacher Mrs. Stefanie Sizemore leads KinderCamp students in a counting activity.

KinderCamp will be coming soon to a Knox County Public School near you. The new camp was approved at the July KCPS Board of Education meeting and will be held at each elementary school in the district. Although exact dates have not been confirmed for all schools, the program will occur in the upcoming weeks before August 11, the district’s official start date. All incoming KCPS kindergarten students are encouraged to enroll in this camp.

KinderCamp focuses on school readiness, especially among the 30 percent of students in Knox County who have never been to preschool or kindergarten. This includes easing the overall transition to kindergarten for students. It will also add an emphasis on learning basic knowledge and skills.

“We feel that it will help ease the transition and first day jitters often experienced as students head to the school for the first time. The camp will take them through what a typical day at school might look like as they experience a variety of hands on learning activities. There will be reading, writing, math along with activities that they will experience through the special classes we offer,” said Frank Shelton, Public Relations Director of KCPS.

By working on these skills and allowing students extra time in their transition, the district hopes to lower the percentage of those entering the school system who are not kindergarten ready. 

Kindergarten readiness is measured statewide in the first weeks of school through the Brigance Early Childhood Screens.

The screens test “skills that are critical predictors of school success, including physical development, language, academic/cognitive, self-help, and social-emotional skills,” according to Shelton. “With the district having such a large number of children who are not kindergarten ready, it is imperative that early intervening services are provided to enhance kindergarten readiness.”

Some of the more specific skills and lessons that students will work on during the camp include stating their name, address and age, using scissors, recognizing the alphabet and standing on one foot. These activities will vary based on each individual school. 

Lynn Camp Elementary School, where the pilot camp was hosted last summer, started their 2016 KinderCamp program Monday, July 18. It has already been a big hit. Kindergarten teacher Ms. Miranda Frost said the pilot program last year was a huge success and their expectations for KinderCamp this year remain the same.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of tears the first day of school [last year] because they were ready. We really want them to be excited about school and so far, it’s going really good,” said Ms. Frost.

Each school is setting their own dates and times so parents should contact their child’s school directly for more information and for enrollment. Parents can also call for more details about specific school plans for the camp. Those interested in the camp should note that bus transportation will not be provided for KinderCamp. For more information, visit http://backtoschool.knoxkyschools.com/kindercamp where dates are being added as they come in.