Listo Para Kínder program prepares ELL students for kindergarten
Steamboat Springs — A new kindergarten readiness program, Listo Para Kínder, is helping young English language learners prepare for their first day of elementary school.
The two-week program kicked off Aug. 1 and, specifically, is targeting ELL students, many of whom haven’t attended a preschool program before, according to Sheila Henderson, executive director of Integrated Community.
Integrated Community is running the program in partnership with the Steamboat Springs School District and Routt County United Way’s Women United, with funding from the Yampa Valley Electric Association and the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation.
Henderson said the program helps prepare students who aren’t familiar with the classroom setting and offers a calm introduction to the local schools for the families of those students.
“We’ve known for a while that a lot of ELL kiddos entering kindergarten haven’t had any type of preschool,” Henderson said.
The Steamboat Springs School District donated the use of a kindergarten classroom at Soda Creek Elementary, and kindergarten teacher Deirdre Mewborn worked with Integrated Community Education Program Coordinator Erin Swanson to develop a curriculum for the classes.
“They put together a program that would prepare the children for kindergarten,” Henderson said.
Ten students are participating in the class, which ran from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday last week and continues through Aug. 11.
Swanson said the students are learning a variety of basic skills that will come in handy when school begins in late August, including how to pick up and use school supplies, letter and number recognition and how to interact in a classroom setting.
“A lot of them didn’t go to preschool, so being in a classroom is huge,” Swanson said.
According to Colorín Colorado, a national bilingual website for educators and families of ELL students, students entering kindergarten should have a variety of academic skills, including the ability to speak in complete sentences, write their name or recognize the letters of their name and count to 10; social skills, including feeling comfortable in a group, asking for help when needed and following simple instructions; and physical skills, including how to hold a pencil, motor coordination and management of bathroom needs.
Swanson said six or seven of the students in the class are also working on their basic English skills.
United Way’s Women United Group has gathered school supplies to give students when they complete the course.
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