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Boy Ready for School

The transition from early childhood to elementary school is a critical window of opportunity for young children and their families. In the best case, the initial weeks of kindergarten set the stage for strong and lasting relationships between home, school, and community that will serve students throughout their academic careers. But smooth transitions are hardly a given. Particularly for young children, changes in routines and relationships can cause considerable stress. For parents, the handoff from home (or a familiar preschool setting) to “big school” can be equally difficult, particularly for parents whose own school experiences may have been less than positive.

Responding to a need articulated by its partnerships statewide, South Carolina First Steps collaborated with state and local partners to develop and launch Countdown to Kindergarten in 2004. The centerpiece of the initiative is a family engagement program that connects families of rising 4K and 5K students with their future teachers during the summer before school entry. Using an evidence-informed curriculum, teachers complete six sessions with each family, five in the home and a final visit in the kindergarten classroom. Learn more about the Countdown to Kindergarten curriculum here.

Over the years, Countdown to Kindergarten has expanded to include community events, professional development opportunities for educators and early childhood professionals, and a campaign to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of school readiness. Together, these elements promote strong and lasting relationships between families, school, and communities that help children thrive in school.

Boy Ready for School

Get Ready for School

Learn what it means to be ready and how you can help prepare your child for success.