Some children and their parents come to kindergarten without any idea of what is expected. WLJT, public media for western Tennessee, is tackling that problem with a step-by-step kindergarten “how-to” in the event called Countdown To Kindergarten.
Almost 40 percent of all children start kindergarten not ready to learn. For children it is much easier to be prepared to succeed in school than for them to start school already behind their classmates. That is why WLJT wants to make sure that families are actively engaged in the preparation process. They do that by organizing the Countdown events in partnership with public libraries and local schools. At Countdown events, parents attend an hour long lecture and learn things they might not already know about sending their child to school for the first time. Educators and other experts give information about school supplies, appropriate dress, conduct, etc. Besides that, a PBS station representative shows the parents the many resources at PBS to make learning fun. The resources range from broadcasts of award winning children’s series to the great apps parents can get for their smart phones, computers and tablets.
While the parents are attending the lecture, the children are in another part of the library having books read to them, learning about fire safety, playing games and getting their library cards. Children are even given a free t-shirt that is printed with the words, “I’m going to kindergarten.” When children wear the shirts out in the community, invariably people will stop and talk to them about the wonders of going to kindergarten. The community recognizes that this is a big deal for the child and makes the child feel like a true celebrity. One parent explained she could not get her son to part with his t-shirt for two weeks straight. He was the center of attention where ever he went and he loved basking in the glow of being so special.
WLJT succeeds in reaching children at a very young age through the Countdown to Kindergarten event by allowing entire families to recognize the importance of education.
For more information, visit the Countdown To Kindergarten website or contact WLJT at 731-881-7561 or 800-366-9558.