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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Kindergarten Countdown Prepares Kids for First Day of School

Monday June 3, 2013

School-readiness critical for early academic success

Surrounded by preschool children, Mayor Greg Fischer joined school and community leaders to launch the 2013 Kindergarten Countdown which helps prepare students entering school for the first time – a critical point for early academic success.

“This program helps kindergarteners and their parents get off on the right foot when making that critical first step in lifelong learning,” Fischer said. “It helps cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators and provides a summer full of educational activity and adventure.”

“Our goal at Jefferson County Public Schools is that all students graduate prepared to contribute to society throughout their life,” said Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens. “To achieve this goal, we can’t wait until students have entered high school to ensure this occurs. Establishing a love of learning early in life is essential to success as a student and post graduation.”

Parents and families may enroll their children by registering at any of the 18 Louisville Free Public Library locations. Each student will receive a free book and an “I’m Going to Kindergarten” T-shirt. Students wearing the T-shirt, accompanied by one adult, will receive free admission to a series of events throughout the summer at many Louisville attractions including:

· Calypso Cove, Northeast YMCA

· Walden Theatre

· Kentucky Derby Museum

· Kentucky Science Center

· Stage One- Story Time!

· Frazier History Museum

· Louisville Free Public Library, Bon Air Branch

· Louisville Zoo

· Health Fair – Newburg Church of Christ, 4700 E. Indian Trail

The program culminates with the Kindergarten Countdown Fair August 7 at Louisville Slugger Field from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Students and an adult will receive free admission to the Louisville Bats game, and students will receive information about immunizations, health screenings and skills they should know before starting kindergarten. Students also will be able to meet teachers and tour a school bus.

At this year’s events, a new mobile app will be demonstrated that connects children to educational games and programs made available through the Public Broadcasting System and Kentucky Educational Television. Louisville is one of several national demonstration sites for the new apps that work on a variety of mobile devices.

“This program helps young people enter school ready to learn. The Library is proud to be part of it,” library Director Craig Buthod said.

Kindergarten Countdown, now in its eighth year, is a partnership between Metro Government, JCPS, Metro United Way Success By 6, the Louisville Free Public Library and PNC Grow Up Great. The agencies work throughout the year to increase school readiness and to educate parents and children about the transition to kindergarten.

"Metro United Way’s vision is a community whose people achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives,” said Joe Tolan, president and CEO. “One of our Community Aspirations to help make this reality is that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn, because we know that children who start behind tend to stay behind. Kindergarten Countdown is a fun way to celebrate a very important milestone in a child's education and help them prepare to be successful in school and life."

“PNC's support of this early childhood education program is another strategic initiative to help our non-profit partners, preschools and caregivers develop stronger, smarter and healthier families and communities. Through this grant, we expect children will enjoy meaningful experiences that would not otherwise be possible,” said Mike Moll, Director of Client and Community Relations of PNC Bank.