A summer bridge to kindergarten

California 5-year-olds with no preschool experience can prep for kindergarten over the summer, reports EdSource Today.  Free “summer bridge” programs are aimed at teaching kids to “wait their turn, raise a hand to answer a question or ask for help, play cooperatively with classmates and deal with time away from family.”

Most summer bridge programs run for half a day for two to six weeks.

A study of 828 summer preschool participants in Kern County last summer found that the program did have a clear effect. Children at all five elementary schools that hosted the program showed significant improvement in math, reading and social skills according to pre- and post-program tests.

Although programs usually pay a kindergarten teacher to teach a group of eight children, a summer bridge is far cheaper than nine months of preschool.

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  1. WHY??? When I was a kid, kindergarten was mostly play, and only for a couple of hours each day. Reading, writing and arithmetic began to be seriously taught in first grade. I don’t think children were dumb in the 1970’s. Why are we rushing these children to adulthood??

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      Jobs for the boys, maybe?
      You’d think, as one raised in an earlier century would say, that certain social skills would be taught by the family.
      Or those who favor that Gramscian theory might suggest it means bringing the kids under the State at an earlier and more vulnerable age.
      All that said, however, if you’re going to do something to prepare kids for kindergarten besides raise them as normal kids, this is more economical and probably just as effective, considering their ability to learn things, as a nine-month program.
      My kids visit frequently–if you look behind me in the pic, you might figure out why–with their friends, and everybody has kids. There are probably half a dozen kids to whom I am not related who call me “Grampa Aubrey”. It’s the hair. I have watched them and their parents for years.
      The pains these parents take are extraordinary. Take your turn. Quick vocab thing–see the ducks? Hey, show Grampa Aubrey how you can count. Gentle with the dog. Wait until we say grace.
      Or, come to think of it, these are not extraordinary. Or, unfortunately, maybe they are. But they make such programs as referenced unnecessary.

      • Roger Sweeny says:

        It’s jobs for the boys but it’s also day care paid for (mostly) by other people.

        Of course, nobody wants to believe they are selfishly getting other people to pay their expenses. Fortunately, there are politicians of all parties ready to tell them it’s in the public interest, creating educated and productive young people.

      • Richard, I don’t doubt what you are saying, that common decent parenting would render such programs un-necessary.

        I would look at it in the opposite way. By feeding children free lunches, providing counselling, free preschool, after-school care and so on, we are actually teaching parents that these things are not their job.

        I should love to see more funding for programs like Parents as Teachers, where a worker comes to the home, and answers individual questions about where that child is developmentally and gives some general handouts about that age bracket (say, your 15-18 month old should be able to… and to build these skills you can…).

        Whether a child is publicly- or privately- educated, parents are the first and most consistent influence on a child. Shouldn’t we rather help them do their jobs effectively?

        So I just think the money could be spent elsewhere. “Prep for kindergarten” as described here seems so dreary. Rather the kids hung out at the duck pond with you. 🙂

        • Richard Aubrey says:

          Happy Elf Mom.
          That would be fun as long as the parents were on site to handle diapers and meltdowns.

  2. Kindergarten should be about learning all those things. The pushing down of curriculum isn’t good for kids. Many of the things they are trying to learn are things they aren’t developmentally ready for, which means it takes them much longer to learn them than if we waited until it was time.

    Yes, parents have a responsibility. But in the past, Kindergarten was about socializing from your home family to your school family and getting you ready to learn in first grade.

    I teach middle schoolers, and some of them have never played in the dirt, baked a dessert, or stayed outside to look at the stars. Instead, their Kindergarten classes focused on academic subjects. They come to me unprepared academically AND unable to behave in a classroom setting. I believe it’s because we’ve stopped teaching social skills in favor of academics. Now we have neither.

    Someone please let Kindergarten be what it once was!