Cooperative Extension Contra Costa
UC Delivers Impact Story

Off to a Good Start...Getting Children Ready for Kindergarten

The Issue

Off to a Good Start...Getting Children Ready for Kindergarten
Parents practice using the sound-a-phone they made as part of the Off to a Good Start series.
Studies show that as many as half of California’s kindergarteners entering school are struggling. Learning and reading difficulties are more common among poor, non-white and non-native English-speaking children. However, problems exist in all socio-economic groups. Kindergarten teachers often cite early education in the home as the most important strategy to improve school readiness. Parent-child relationships in early childhood predict social and emotional development and lay the groundwork for academic growth and success. Likewise, a child’s readiness to enter kindergarten predicts future academic success and failure.

What Has ANR Done?

UC advisors developed a comprehensive, 240-page train-the-trainer curriculum, "Off to a Good Start." It includes seven lessons on kindergarten expectations, language, reading readiness, socio-emotional development, problem-solving (math and science), nutrition and physical development, and home-to-school connections. Each lesson includes a mini-lecture and overheads, interactive activities, take-home materials, lesson evaluation and promotional materials. The curriculum is available in English and Spanish.

The Payoff

Parents are improving their children's readiness for school.

Early childhood education professionals and parent educators from 23 counties, 14 states and Puerto Rico have been trained on the curriculum and are using the materials in their school readiness programming. As a result, children and families across the state and nation are engaging in proven, age-appropriate kindergarten readiness activities that prepare the children for school success.

Clientele Testimonial

"Off to a Good Start is such a fantastic program. I tell everyone about it everywhere I go. Today, I was going on and on about it with my mechanic." ---Jeff W. (parent)

"I am a single parent and I want to do the best for my son. This workshop series has helped me to prepare him for school." ---Silva E. (parent)

Contact

Placer County, Sharon K. Junge, County Director & Nutrition Family Consumer Science Advisor, 11477 E Ave., Auburn CA 95603, (530) 889-7385, skjunge@ucdavis.edu

San Diego County, Sue Manglallan, 4-H Youth & Family Development Advisor, 5555 Overland Ave., Suite 4101, San Diego, CA 92124 (858) 694-8836, ssmanglallan@ucdavis.edu