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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Kindergarten Countdown Helps prepare Kids, Parents for School

Tuesday June 24, 2014

School-readiness critical for early academic success

Surrounded by preschool children, Mayor Greg Fischer joined school and community leaders to launch the 2014 Kindergarten Countdown, a program that helps prepare kids entering kindergarten – a time which numerous studies have shown is critical for early academic success.

“This program helps families get off to a strong start when fall rolls around and children to go to school for the first time,” Fischer said. “These free, fun and educational events really get kids excited about learning, and pave the way for future generations of leaders and innovators to emerge.”

“The journey to college and career readiness starts with kindergarten preparedness,” said JCPS superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens. “We continue to improve readiness through our amazing Early Childhood programs. However, support at home and in the community ensures that all children are ready to learn.”

To get involved, all families need to do is visit any of the 18 Louisville Free Public Library branches and register. There, each child 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:

· Stage One Family Theatre and Louisville Free Public Library, Main Branch

· Frazier History Museum

· Northeast YMCA, Calypso Cove

· Muhammad Ali Center

· Walden Theatre

· Louisville Zoo

· Louisville Water Tower Park

· Kentucky Science Center

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

· Kentucky Derby Museum

The program concludes with the Kindergarten Countdown Fair August 5 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, where they will also receive information about immunizations, health screenings and skills they should know before starting kindergarten. Students will be able to meet teachers and tour a school bus as well.

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

Going nine years strong, Kindergarten Countdown is a partnership between Metro Government, JCPS, Metro United Way, the Louisville Free Public Library and PNC Grow Up Great. While Kindergarten Countdown is confined to the summer months, these organizations work throughout the year to increase school readiness and to educate families about the transition to kindergarten. JCPS has crafted an informative school readiness guide to help parents understand what they can do at home to maximize their child’s kindergarten experience. It can be accessed on their website.

"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. “These are the building blocks for a good quality of life…and we know that education drives the other two. That’s why it’s critical our 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 Chuck Denny, PNC regional president in Louisville.