Families rounding their final summer before kindergarten can breathe a little easier. The Frankford Public Library is hosting a kindergarten readiness program to help kids and parents face the unknown.
The K-Club will meet for four weeks, on Wednesdays, Aug. 7, 14, 21 and 28, from 5 to 7 p.m.
“There will be a light dinner, followed by parent-and-child activities, and then we’re going to split the parents and children, and do separate programs,” said Rachel Jackson, the library’s children’s coordinator.
Activities range from packing a child’s backpack to practicing the alphabet and numbers. Three weeks of the program will take place at the Frankford Public Library, and one week will include tours of nearby John M. Clayton Elementary.
“We’re just trying to help people get ready for kindergarten. I think they should attend so that their kids are ready … and the first day isn’t a completely new and scary experience,” said Jackson. “It takes a long time, I think, for the kindergarteners to adjust to school,” so the sooner kids feel comfortable, the sooner they’ll start learning.
“Our kindergarten teachers do an amazing job helping them with this transition, but this will be one more thing that will help them get there,” she continued.
To reach the entire family, three organizations are collaborating in K-Club — the first of its kind at the Frankford library.
“We’re already partnering with the principal of JMC and … the kindergarten teachers. Literacy Delaware will teach the adult piece, and … one of the kindergarten teachers will do the child piece,” Jackson said.
Although the program focuses on JMC, families from other school attendance areas are welcome. The cost is free for all, and families are being encouraged to attend all four sessions, which each build on the previous weeks.
Besides a light dinner each night, families will also receive free children’s books and flashcards with numbers and letters. The families are only separated for about 15 minutes for the specialized activities.
Even if they don’t seem to be paying attention, babies can start learning language early in life, so parents should practice reading and speaking with children starting as young as possible, according to organizers.
“My hope is … we can reach parents, because we know the most important person is the mother, as far as determining the success of the child in school,” said Cindy Shermeyer, director at Literacy Delaware. “By third grade, you’re reading to learn, not learning to read. So if you’re behind by third grade, you’re really at a deficit, so we’re hoping to reach children” earlier.
“We really want our kids in the community to be successful in school,” Jackson said.
Families who can’t attend the K-Club can always attend various storytimes, and Lego, cooking and other workshops for all ages. The library’s events calendar is published online and posted on-site.
Literacy Delaware typically focuses on adult literacy (basic reading, English language instruction, individual tutoring or group classes).
“We use trained volunteer tutors to work with adults who read at or below a fifth-grade level … or lower proficiency in the English language,” said Shermeyer. “Our mission is really to help these folks who have limited skills improve these skills so they can be more self-sufficient and be engaged parents and family members.”
The K-Club program was initiated by the library board and Literacy Delaware to prep young children and set them on a good track to begin school. It is made possible by Literacy Delaware’s winning a FACES (Freeman Assists Communities with Extra Support) grant from the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, which funds smaller projects in Sussex County.
The Frankford Public Library is located at 8 Main Street, Frankford.
Registration for K-Club is free. The deadline is Wednesday, July 31. For details, contact the library at (302) 732-9351.
School for Indian River School District students starts after Labor Day. Kindergarten is for children who will be 5 years old on or before Aug. 31, 2019. Parents are being encouraged to register their children for kindergarten for the 2019-2020 school year.
Parents who do not know which school their child will be attending can visit Delaware’s school locator website at https://pubapps.doe.k12.de.us/SchoolLocator/FeederSchoolSearch.aspx.
By Laura Walter