Author: Kathleen Mulroy
“I learned so much about teaching my baby the skills she needs to do well in school, and I had so much fun!” exclaimed a Sandpoint mom after attending a READY! for Kindergarten workshop in September.
The IdahoSTARS project recently affirmed READY! for Kindergarten’s important contribution to improving early childhood literacy. The Moscow-based organization has certified the workshops as IdahoSTARS’ early childhood education training. IdahoSTARS is a joint project between the University of Idaho’s Center on Disabilities and Human Development and the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children. It is funded by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare through the Child Care and Development Block Grant. The organization is considered the leading expert and referral source for quality early childcare and education in Idaho. It offers professional development, scholarships, consulting, quality rating and business licensing support. In a study, 82 percent of the respondents who took IdahoSTARS-approved training reported that it increased their skills in working with children.
Additional training for daycare and preschool providers greatly benefits the children in their care. That’s because “a provider’s skill level determines whether children in care are safe and have the early learning experiences they need to succeed in school.” (NACCRRA, “Training for a Quality Workforce.”)
READY! for Kindergarten workshops are funded by the Panhandle Alliance for Education and endorsed by the Lake Pend Oreille School District. The free workshops are for parents and other caregivers of infants, toddlers and preschool children. READY!’s trained facilitators, who are also credentialed teachers, show how to teach young children the skills necessary to start school ahead, and stay ahead. Held at a Sandpoint elementary school on a Saturday morning, the age-specific workshops are offered each fall, winter and spring. Free childcare is provided by adult, middle school and high school students.
Becky Snelson, of Becky’s Country Daycare, says, “I encourage everyone who has or cares for children under five to attend as many READY! for Kindergarten workshops as they can. I’ve found the curriculum and the toys and activities that parents and caregivers receive to be high-quality, useful and fun. READY! is all about ‘playing with a purpose’ – and it really works.”
For more information about the IdahoSTARS project, visit www.idahostars.org or call 1-800-926-2588. To register for the winter READY! for Kindergarten session, go to www.readysandpoint.org or call 208-263-7040.
The Panhandle Alliance for Education is a nonprofit organization composed of local citizens, businesses and educators. Its mission is to promote excellence in education and broad-based community support for the Lake Pend Oreille School District. Donations are distributed as a working pool of money used to fund teacher grants, READY! For Kindergarten and other strategic programs. To learn more about PAFE, or to make an on-line donation, visit our Facebook page, go to the website – www.panhandlealliance.com – or call the Executive Director, Marcia Wilson, at 208-263-7040.