Kindergarten, a major milestone for students and their families, is an important step for five-year-old’s as they begin the learning and socialization process. Duncan kindergarteners and their parents will have the opportunity to participate in an upcoming summer camp at Duncan Elementary School June 20 through June 30.
The program is free of charge and healthy snacks will be served. Experienced kindergarten teacher Miss Melanie will offer fun learning activities that strengthen early literacy and math skills. But most importantly, the children will become familiar with their new teacher, new friends, and the school campus. Parents are also encouraged to participate in some of the activities during the camp and will receive a kit with educational materials to use with their children during the summer.
The program is sponsored by the Graham County School Superintendent’s Office, and funded through the generosity of the Arizona Foundation of Gila Valley and Graham-Greenlee First Things First.
Program facilitator Paulette LeBlanc of Edsupport looks at the program, and kindergarten in general is an integral to a child’s development.
“Research says that preschool years are critical to the life of a child. What happens to a child before the age of five follows them for the rest of their life. We need to ensure that something good happens at that age,” she said.
The program is in its fifth year, having lost one to covid and the participation rate has been excellent with 76 of 117 eligible students attending. The response has also been favorable.
“The response from parents have been absolutely overwhelming,” LeBlanc said. “There is no question when we see parents return the next year with the next child saying my child was here last year, or the year before that, and I wouldn’t miss this program.”
Donna McGaughey, of the Graham County School Superintendent’s Office spoke about the importance of the camps.
“The summer kindergarten camps have proven to be an integral part of preparing our young children to be successful in school. The fact that they get to go to their classroom, meet their teacher, and start getting used to learning opportunities makes for such a smooth transition once school starts,” she said.
The Office is also directly involved with distributing supplies and making personal visits.
“We order all of the supplies and keep the inventory here in our office. We divide everything up and make sure it is delivered to each kindergarten before the camp begins. During the weeks of these camps, I try to visit as many as possible. I enjoy working with the kids, meeting their parents and grandparents, and watching the spark in their eyes when they catch on to concepts during the activities. It is a wonderful, wonderful thing,” she said.