Steven and Doris Smallsreed admitted that making sure that their 5-year-old son got to school on time last month was a commitment.
But it's a practice they hope will pay off in the long run.
''If there's a chance to provide your child with more education and more opportunities to learn and grow, why not get involved in something like that as much as possible?'' Steven Smallsreed asked. ''That's what it's all about really, doing what's best for your child. That means giving them every opportunity possible to learn, grow and to advance.''
Molly Schwab, a kindergarten teacher at LaBrae’s Bascom Elementary School, worked with preschoolers last month as part of the United Way’s Success By 6 kindergarten readiness program.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Virginia Shank
Keith is among a group of 12 children who participated in the United Way's Success By 6 summer program at LaBrae's Bascom Elementary School in June. The four-week program, launched a few years ago, prepares preschoolers for kindergarten.
Previously Success By 6 was offered at 18 schools in Mahoning County and three in Trumbull. However, in May, on behalf of the GM Foundation, the joint leadership team of the Lordstown Complex presented a $15,000 Plant City grant to the United Way to expand the program to LaBrae and Niles.
Bob Hannon, president of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, explained that each school district develops its own curriculum. He said that hundreds of families have been served by the effort.
1. Establish familiarity with the physical structure of the school building.
2. Develop a relationship with the kindergarten teacher the students most likely will have in the fall.
3. Learn to adhere to classroom structure.
4. Develop appropriate skills.
5. Overcome any readiness deficiencies identified through the kindergarten registration screening process.
''This program provides a great opportunity for any child going into kindergarten to get that extra boost they might need,'' Hannon said.
According to information posted on the United Way's Web site, Success By 6 is a framework developed by United Way Worldwide to support local efforts to improve kindergarten readiness.
Children are exposed to a classroom setting and complete lesson plans designed to help them develop their skills, including reading and math.
Participants must be 5 by Sept. 1. Last month at LaBrae students attended classes four hours a day, four days a week. Molly Schwab, a kindergarten teacher at Bascom, said the program keys in on social, emotional and academic aspects.
Schwab said letters were sent to parents to inform them about the program, which is free.
''We have 100 children going into kindergarten this year and I wish they could have all had this opportunity this year,'' said Schwab, one of the teachers involved in the program at LaBrae. ''I would love to see it grow and expand to more children next year. You can just see how much these children have already advanced academically and socially.''