Program gets kindergartners ready for school year

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A kindergarten readiness program based in Ottawa County prepares kids for the school day before they officially start the school year. 

The nonprofit Ready for School supports the Holland, Zeeland and Hamilton communities. Its program, Start School Ready, wrapped up its fifth year this month. 

“It’s a way of relationally supporting kids in the summer. To get them ready for school academically, socially and emotionally and to help parents feel confident about the rhythms of their day,” Ready for School CEO Donna Lowry told 24 Hour News 8. 

The program allows kids entering kindergarten to attend half days for four weeks before the school year starts. It’s all to get them comfortable with making the transition to full days in the classroom.

“When we are getting ready for some big thing in life — and a transition for kindergarten is a big thing — there is a lot of excitement,” Lowry said. “Some of that excitement is nervousness and uncertainty, but that fuels people to be ready for a change regardless of their age.”

The program gets its sustainable support in two ways, Lowry explained. Private partnerships account for 70 percent of the necessary funding while the remaining 30 percent comes from local school partnerships. 

Overall the area has seen success with the program. 

“We know those kids are more ready when we actually do a kindergarten assessment. That’s a community assessment we do for all kids here in our community. We know that those kids rate higher than you would expect based upon their last experience,” Lowry mentioned.

She added they have grown the program from serving 40 kids five years ago to roughly 120 this year. 

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