Jumpstart to Kindergarten allows some of the school system’s youngest students to get a sneak peek at their classrooms and a chance to meet their teachers before the official first day of school, Sept. 5. For two weeks in the summer — Aug. 7 to 18 — any incoming kindergartener who will start school in September at a Title 1 school can take part in the program.
Held at C. Paul Barnhart, Dr. Gustavus Brown, Indian Head, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, J.P. Ryon and Eva Turner elementary schools, Jumpstart is just how it sounds. Kids delve into what they will learn when classes officially start. “It helps them prepare for kindergarten,” Shelby Boley, a kindergarten teacher at Barnhart said. “They learn the routines, the rules and get familiar with the building.”
The early introduction into what a day in the life of a full-day student is exciting for the students, who are looking forward to going to school. “I’m going to be so happy,” Kaidyn Jennings said. “Because I like going to kindergarten.”
Others are looking to hit rite-of-passage milestones. “I want to go on the big playground,” Shaelyn Smoot said of starting school.
Jump into kindergarten
This is the first year for the free program, which parents sign up for. Children are not required to attend the entire two weeks, allowing flexibility for a family’s summer plans. They don’t have to stay the whole day if they have other activities scheduled.
Throughout the previous school year, kindergarten teachers met to develop activities incorporating reading, math and other lessons taught during the program. During Jumpstart, each day revolves around a theme. On a recent afternoon, Barnhart students were “camping.” There is also recess and free play. At Eva Turner, students picked what learning station they wanted to start with — the kitchen, the sandbox, puppet theater or computers.
Each day, kids take home a question for their parents to ask them as a way to foster communication about how school is going. Questions can be “What did they learn?” and “Can they teach them what they learned that day?”
The program acclimates students to classrooms and teachers, easing them into their soon-to-be school-day routine. It starts a love of learning early on, said Kristin Shields, director of Title I programs for CCPS.
“I want to go to kindergarten because I want to learn my ABCs and 123s and help everyone out,” Adrian Moore, a Turner student, said. “I want to be a good friend and a good leader.”
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,400 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Marvin L. Jones, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.