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Incoming kindergartners jump-start their education by taking part in Kinder Camp, a 3-week summer school program for children 4 to 5 years old.
Held in partnership with Portage, Valparaiso, Duneland and Hebron school districts, and sponsored by ArcelorMittal, the program provides the basic skills and learning essentials that incoming kindergartners need to succeed and introduces kids to STEAM - science, technology, engineering, art, and math - concepts.
Students learn to ride the bus, social manners, reading, writing and more to lay the ground work for learning in the fall. They work through different stations and activities learning how to work with others while solving challenges and brain busters.
Kinder Camp gives them the chance to build crucial skills early, such as building, playing and discovery. Kids need to play, interact and learn together to be healthy adults. These skills are known as soft skills.
Kinder Camp is another critical way we support underserved members of the community. Other options are not always available or afforadable for low-income, working families to support their child's education. Kinder Camp fills the gap.
Parents and Teachers agree, Kinder Camp is making an impact on their children and future students.
"I had two children attending kinder camp. They both had an amazing time and loved every day of it. I was amazed at how much they were learning so quickly. They were both sad to see the program end. I am so happy that this program is available to help jumpstart kids into kindergarten and a love for school. They are still loving reading all of their new books daily too. Thank you very much United Way and educators of Porter County for this wonderful opportunity for my children." -- Parent
"After doing the STEM Humpty Dumpty activity, the students came to the conclusion that Humpty could not be put back together again. However one little boy insisted that there must be a way. "I am going to thiiiink on it," he said. Later, I asked if he had a solution or wanted to try something else. He replied, "Some scientist somewhere knows how...he just didn't tell us."' -- Portage School District Teacher
"My child loved every part of the kinder camp program. She came home every afternoon excited to tell me she had done and learned that day. I appreciated being sent home books and that snacks were provided with the program. We would read the books together in the morning while waiting for the bus to come which we both found was a really lovely way to start the day." -- Parent
"My daughter struggles with attention and socializing. Her first two days were difficult for her. But by day 3 she was paying more attention, listening to her teacher, and coming home talking about her friends that she made. There was a huge improvement for her between the start of kinder camp and her last day. I'm very thankful she had the opportunity to participate in this!" -- Parent
"The books that accompanied the activities were great. All of my students role played the Three Billy Goats Gruff. They took turns taking the part of the different characters and used different voices to go over the bridges that they built through the STEM activity." -- Portage School District Teacher
"Prior to this program, my 4-year old son did not have an interest in attending kindergarten in the fall. During and after the program, I saw a noticeable difference in my child! He constantly tells me things that he learned during the program and often expresses an interest in looking forward to kindergarten." -- Parent
"One of my students cried every day the first week and at the end of the program she did not want it to be over. Her mom was pleased and felt her first day of Kindergarten will be much easier. Valpo is starting a Transitional Kindergarten program this year and Kinder Camp has really helped us to identify children that will benefit most from that program." -- Valparaiso School District Teacher
Kinder Camp is part of the Porter County School Readiness Program, comprised of 5 partner organizations working to provide high-quality preschool programming to the underserved in Porter County. For more information, click here.