Kindergarten students' first day of school can be a mix of emotions, including excitement, confusion, and worry about the unknown. Smooth transitions from preschool to Kindergarten depend on connections between schools and families and between preschool and kindergarten teachers and classrooms before kindergarten entry.
The Okaloosa County School District provides transition activities from preschool to Kindergarten to help with this process. This year, eleven Title I schools offered "Kindergarten Kickstart." This program brings incoming Kindergarteners into the classroom before the whole school community arrives to familiarize them with the campus, introduce resilience strategies, and teach routines
. Superintendent Marcus Chambers stated, "This is a way to set our students up for success, allowing them to become familiar with people they will see on the first day and the environment they will learn in with extended time and fewer intimidating factors."
Kindergarten Kickstart was held July 24-27 and was funded by the Title 1 District Initiative. The Title 1 Department anticipated 200 students to attend, and 350 enrolled in the program offered by Bob Sikes, Edwins, Kenwood, Laurel Hill, Lewis, Mary Esther, Northwood, Riverside, Shalimar, Walker, and Wright Elementary Schools. Each child and family who participated received a backpack filled with Summer Express Learning Materials, Just Right Reader Decodable packs, and Share and Take Turns, a book by Cheri J. Meiners. Superintendent Chambers added, "I appreciate the teachers and administrators who ran the program at their school and our Title 1 Department for making this program successful."