BOISE — Governor Little's goal to have schools back by fall semester means in a few months, and some students will be starting Kindergarten. Right now is a pivotal time to get them ready, and a free program through the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children is up to the task.
Kristie Manning is one of the parents across the state, bringing the classroom to her home with the program. She's been teaching her child with materials from READY! For Kindergarten; an education workshop series. Manning's seen results first-hand with two years old.
"It was mind-blowing," said Manning, "I am a firm believer it's never too early to start education."
The program typically brings workshops to local schools for parents to attend. At the workshops, families gather depending on their child's age level, and they review learning targets and take-home activities.
"It's designed to build skills developmentally, all the way from birth to five, everything a child will need to be successful their first day of Kindergarten," said program director Hailey Michalk.
Kristie also works at Interfaith Sanctuary and brought the workshops to their families as well.
"I thought it was so important for our families to get involved too because they lack the transportation most of the time to get to those sorts of classes, so it was so helpful bringing it to the shelter and allowing us to have the same access," said Manning.
Given that schools aren't open, the workshops are currently online, and materials mailed all for free to families.
"The whole idea behind ready for kindergarten is that we're supporting parents at home, and that's sort of where we're all at right now, at home," said Michalk.
Beyond the academic goals for each age, there's also the work on socio-emotional skills needed when entering Kindergarten, like taking turns and using kind words.
"We say play with a purpose, and that's choosing one academic to work on every day, just ten minutes, while you're playing, and you can build all the foundational skills a child needs to be successful on their first day," said Michalk.