Kindercamps get kids and parents ready for school success


By Sue Cody


W2W kindercamp FBKindergarten has become the new first grade, experts say, and kids are expected to have certain skills to succeed in school.


Day care is one place to get behavioral and emotional skills needed for achievement. But not all kids go to day care.


Enter “Kindercamps,” funded by the state and administered by the Northwest Early Learning Hub through local schools. Kindercamps help kids make the transition from home to school.


“Sending kids off to school for the first time can be traumatizing for some parents and their children,” says Eva Manderson. She is an Early Learning specialist and Preschool Promise manager for Northwest Early Learning Hub.


Kindercamps are scheduled in August in Astoria, Seaside, Warrenton, Knappa and Jewell. They are for any child who may find it challenging to transition to school, especially those with no day care experience.


Kindercamp class sizes are smaller, with more adult support than in regular kindergarten classrooms. They familiarize kids with routines, show them how to follow directions, pay attention, raise their hands to talk, take turns and socialize with other children.


In a typical Kindercamp classroom, kids do group activities and sharing activities. The teacher and assistants help get the children used to different activity stations and show them how to care for the materials and space.


Learning routines and getting accustomed to different activity stations makes the kindergarten experience less intimidating.


 “Kids will rise to the occasion when we have expectations and give them goals,” Manderson says. “It warms my heart to go into the classroom and see them. These children will have the experience of being in the classroom and knowing the routines. They can be leaders and role models for their peers.”


Parent education is also important for a child’s success. Support and partnerships are offered to keep parents involved in their child’s development. This year, Seaside qualified for an additional grant for evidence-based parenting education.


 “Supporting parents’ efforts to help their children develop during the preschool years improves a child’s school readiness, reduces behavior problems, enhances social skills and promotes academic success,” according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Focus on social and emotional health is now recognized as an important factor in success. Social-emotional skills include managing emotions, setting and achieving positive goals, feeling empathy and maintaining positive relationships.


“Kindergarten teachers report that of the 32 million children living in poverty or low-income homes in the United States, nearly half lack strong social-emotional skills and are not ‘ready to succeed in school,’” reads a brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Penn State University.


“Social-emotional learning in early childhood can enable children to thrive academically, mentally and physically in kindergarten and beyond,” the brief says.


The Way to Wellville and its sponsor, Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, support early childhood education.


If you know a pre-kindergartner who would benefit from Kindercamp, contact the school.


Dates of Kindercamps:

Jewell: Aug. 7-18, 503-755-2451

Knappa: Aug. 7-18, 503-458-6166

Astoria: Aug. 14-18, 503-325-6672

Warrenton: Aug. 14-25, 503-861-3376

Seaside Heights: Aug. 14-25, 503-738-5591