Children with little or no preschool have the hardest time starting kindergarten. And their parents may be unsure how to help them.
The Early Kindergarten Transition program helps these families tackle the challenges kindergarten will bring. It’s held before school starts, over two to three weeks in late summer.
A kindergarten teacher leads a class for the kids each day during the program. Once or twice a week, parents attend a class, too. They learn what to expect from school and how to help their kids succeed.
The library has been a dedicated partner in these parent education classes ever since Portland Public Schools started the program seven years ago. The program today includes 43 SUN schools in six districts. Multnomah County librarians are active at all of them.
We model reading aloud to kids with an interactive storytime, and we introduce parents to the library and all the ways we can help — such as homework help, English classes, family programs, and books in their native languages.
This year, in addition to partnering on parent education classes, the library provided about 2,000 gently used books for child care locations at every site. (Child care is provided during parent education classes.)
We also signed up people for library cards and Summer Reading, and gave a free book to each of roughly 600 families.
From one PPS educator: "I know all of our parents that attended the library session were happy about our librarian. I myself enjoyed her way of reading the book to children — showed us how easy it can be to read to any child. Everyone enjoyed all the takeaways from that session."