FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): United Way's Kindergarten Countdown, which started this week, nearly tripled in size. The United Way of Allen County kicked off the week with Community Transportation Network, East Allen County Schools, and Fort Wayne Community Schools. It's a program designed to help kids prepare for school in the fall. At-risk students, which are those with little or no early childhood learning experience or who are limited English speakers, were identified by the schools during kindergarten orientation in April and invited to participate in the program at no cost. Community Transportation Network provided transportation for East Allen County Schools’ students and Fort Wayne Community Schools will provide meals through their summer food program to both of the school systems. Kindergarten Countdown focuses on skills like literacy and language development. It’s also an opportunity for social-emotional adjustment and ensuring children who have never been in a classroom setting are prepared to jump in and learn in late August when school officially begins.
In a release sent by the United Way of Allen County, President and CEO Todd Stephenson said,
“We are thrilled to not only continue this initiative again this year, but to also be able to expand it…Last year the program was a tremendous success with several measurable outcomes, including that 52 percent of the students entered the program unable to write their own names. By the end of the program, 96 percent of the students were able to write their names.”