Kindergarten is approaching; a library program is here to help
Published on July 18, 2023
Before their children walk into kindergarten, parents and caregivers are learning ways to help them gain confidence for the first day of school with the Fort Worth Public Library’s Kinder Prep 101 program.
Topics covered during the sessions include the ages and stages of child development, types of schools and styles of language programs, classroom organization and reading strategies, and introductions to math and science concepts. Hands-on, age-appropriate activities feature segments on school readiness, reading, math, writing, science and the importance of play.
The format fosters the program’s two main components simultaneously: providing information specifically for caregivers along with activities that promote engagement between the caregiver and their child. The overall goal is to give families tools to make kindergarten a rewarding experience.
“The information shared in the program aims to help the adult, as the teacher at home, to get ready for the expectations of kindergarten, and get their child ready for the first day of school,” said Minerva Gates, a Youth Services program coordinator at the Library.
Finding common ground
Kinder Prep recently wrapped up a six-week series of classes at the Northside Branch Library. Participants found a lot to love about the sessions, ranging from their child’s growing socialization skills with other children to learning specific academic skills.
“I was so surprised how interactive the activities were and how my child was really engaged,” said parent Sofia Mata. “They gave me so many ideas to try at home to continue learning.”
Another key part of the class format is completing several different tasks during a given session. “I think moving from one activity to another was very helpful because in school she will need to transition often from one activity to another,” Mata said of her daughter. “It helped me learn how I can help her with it.”
Know before they go
Maria Parra said her son will have a clearer picture of what he can expect in kindergarten. “I enjoyed all the time with the parents who participated in the program and their children,” she said. “I learned a lot of good things.”
Helping boost early literacy is also a component of the class.
“I have been able to check off what skills my son knows. For example, recognizing letters and sounds,” said parent Brennie Enriquez. “All my kids enjoyed the activities, even my oldest daughter who is in 2nd grade.”
Face to face
While Kinder Prep 101 has been offered virtually, Spring 2023 saw the program move to include in-person classes at four libraries. Six locations are slated to offer the courses in the coming months. Gates said that, besides the obvious face-to-face interactions that come from in-person sessions, there are also opportunities to reinforce lessons with activities. Those activities boost engagement and understanding.
Another benefit? The program introduces families to a world of resources available at their Library.
“Caregivers are not alone on their journey to raise lifelong learners,” Gates said. “This program not only provides support and instruction from staff, but also the opportunity to share experiences and bond with other participants. Libraries are a resource and checking out books, music or movies are only a small piece of the many resources families can tap into.”