Rather than taking the summer off to lie by the pool, kindergarten teacher Pam Moore is one of the teachers involved with the "Countdown to Kindergarten" program that prepares children for their first experience in the classroom.
The program targets families with at risk children who will attend Cheraw Primary School in the fall.
Subsidized by local donations and S.C. Education Lottery funds, the program assists children found eligible through Head Start or public school child development classes. These children and their families participate in eight visits from a kindergarten teacher who helps prepare them for the adventure of learning.
Parents also receive a parent model to help them understand the development of cognitive and motor skills in their preschoolers.
All children do not develop in an identical pattern, Moore explained. The visits help parents help their children, giving them ideas and exercises to enhance learning skills.
Teaching through play is a large part of Moore's program. Blocks, puzzles, beads and fun books like "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" are all part of the process.
In eight visits, children begin to adapt to the concepts of reading, numbers, classification and organization skills, patterning, and writing.
"Teaching their brains to think in an organized fashion" is Moore's goal.
In the first visit, children receive a book bag filled with tools they will use to embark on their learning experience: crayons, construction paper, play-dough, pencils and a writing journal (to begin the story of their life). In the following visits, play is interwoven into the learning process, making it an enjoyable experience for the child.
Along with providing resource books for parents, Moore encourages parents to make arrangements for their children to attend "story time" at the Matheson Library on Fridays at 11 a.m.
The final visit is held at Moore's kindergarten classroom where parents learn the top 10 signs of a good kindergarten classroom.
Gale Baker may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.