Gearing Up for Kindergarten

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Kristen Fehr, School Board Member, Dickinson

"I observed how the teacher was able to put the children and parents at ease in the classroom setting. We are seeing parents, some of them young parents, who perhaps did not have a positive experience in school themselves now bringing their children to school and really want to know how to help their children in school. I also observed how the teacher was attentive to the parents, showing them how to work with classroom activities at home.

In Dickinson Public School's 19 years of offering this program, we have seen the positive results of Gearing Up for Kindergarten.  The program has expanded from one classroom to four and there are always families on a waiting list.

Parents who participated with their pre-kindergarten child felt that their child was more prepared for school in the fall. They also reported feeling like the school treats them as a partner in education, showing them how to interact with their child and interact with the school staff. 

The parent education session is unique.   I observed good, interactive discussions about homework, television, conferences, importance of regular attendance, school routines and expectations of school. The parent education session includes speakers from the school district on a variety of topic areas; parents report that they have appreciated, for example, learning how to read a book with their child, why hearing tests are important, what to bring to kindergarten registration, importance of nutrition and adequate sleep, and the importance of preparing their child for a successful school experience.

Dickinson Public Schools' parent completion rate is more than 90% due to breaking down those barriers of child care and the evening meal that often make it difficult for parents to attend these sessions. The coordinator, Stacy Kilwein, strives to make a welcoming environment and provides supper and child care."

Kristen Fehr
School Board Member
Dickinson

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