Boot Camp Prepares Kindergarten Students


SHADY COVE, Ore. — Many students make a lot of progress each school year, and then during the summer take some steps backward.  To counter that, School District 9 is looking into expanding summer schools, and turning them into something that is seen as a positive instead of remediation.

The summer program is also going to be helping students before their first day of school.  This year Shady Cove Elementary School was the first to launch a new program called Kindergarten Boot Camp.  The camp teaches them basic classroom expectations and activities.

The boot camp takes place in the kindergarten classroom a couple of weeks before school starts.

“A lot of people this is new for them coming in to a classroom setting, and for others it’s… not but it just kind of gave them a familiar face when they started kindergarten,” said Kindergarten Boot Camp and kindergarten teacher, Marsha Lee.

Lee said sometimes it takes weeks to get kindergarten students adjusted to the classroom and the curriculum, but the students who went through the program were ready when the first day of school came around.

“Some of them… when they came in where very afraid to walk in the front door and there were a lot of tears, but when they came in that first day of school it was wonderful,” said Lee. “They were excited. They were like bye mom.”

Twenty-five percent of the incoming kindergarten class attended the boot camp.  Parents, like Brandon Bailey, who worked with their kids before school started, said the program was beneficial.

“He put together L-M-N, and it seemed like one letter, and they are working on changing that, and it’s no longer one letter… he is saying each letter individually, and it’s great because we did have a problem with that,” said Bailey.

Bailey said it’s a move he would highly recommends for other parents with incoming kindergartners.

“It’s only going to benefit your child in the long run,” said Bailey.  “You build a good foundation for school, and they’re just going to build and excel from there.”

Teachers said they can tell a difference in the students who did attend the boot camp versus those who did not.  Now the students who did attend boot camp act as mentors for the other students.

“You know we have hands on math tubs that we did during our boot camp time, and so those students got to be my helpers and show what to do because they knew what was expected of them,” said Lee.

The boot camp is free for students and is funded by the school district.  This is part of a larger plan by the district to expand extended year programs. Kindergarten Boot Camp aims at teaching kindergartners their letters, numbers, and how to spell their first and last name.