Children, families better prepared for kindergarten thanks to 4C readiness programs

September 21, 2015


More than 200 kindergarten children and their parents in 10 Cincinnati Public Schools were better equipped when school started this year thanks to school readiness events facilitated by 4C for Children throughout August.

For the third straight year Lisa Garofalo, 4C for Children’s school and community manager, has worked with each school’s Community Learning Center (CLC) to facilitate kindergarten orientation as part of the overall effort to support school readiness for parents and children. Her work is made possible by support from the Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation.

“These events give the incoming kindergarten students the opportunity to spend time with their teachers and become oriented to things like the school-day routines, classroom etiquette, school bus riding and lunch procedures,” Garofalo says. “And parents have the opportunity to meet with school staff or a 4C parent specialist to ask questions and learn more about school expectations and curriculum.”

The majority of the elementary schools—Evanston Academy, J.P. Parker, Mt. Airy, Mt. Washington, Oyler, Roberts Academy, Sayler Park, Rees E. Price Academy and Ethel Taylor—held 90-minute sessions over at least three days. The Academy of World Languages held one four-hour event to meet the needs of the diverse student population.

“Transition to school is a big life event for young children and their families,” Garofalo says. “The school, children and parents need to be ready for this change. We try to help address as many of the issues and questions as possible before school starts to make the transition easier. This allows the children to go into that first day of school with more confidence.”

Diana, a teacher at The Academy of World Languages agrees. The event “really eases the parent-child separation because the children are ‘playing school’ and the parents are getting information. This makes day one less stressful and fearful for both the parent and the child.”

In addition to the kindergarten readiness orientations, 4C staff was also present at school/neighborhood back-to-school events to offer information to parents on choosing quality child care and after-school care.

And it wasn’t just information about kindergarten that participating students received. 4C was also able to provide students at various CLC schools with 300 My First Homework Boxes and 300 backpacks—each filled with supplies to help parents help kindergartners at home.

The backpacks were donated by Dianne Dunkelman, along with educational materials from Clever Crazes for Kids. The Homework Boxes, assembled by 4C Ambassadors, were created using small pizza boxes donated by LaRosa’s. Back-to-school supplies that filled the boxes (crayons, scissors, primary pencils and glue sticks) were donated by 4C supporters like Tom Freeman and Doug Klocke.

“We always loved to buy school supplies ourselves,” said Tom, as he dropped off scores of notebooks, pencils, scissors, etc., at the 4C office. “So we went shopping to support this 4C project!”

“All these back-to-school activities help ensure that children entering kindergarten at any of our partner CLC schools—and their families—have positive experiences leading up to the start of school and are as prepared as possible when school starts,” Garofalo says. “When everyone is on the same page on day one, that helps begin a successful year for students, parents and teachers.”