Ready to Start
Aera Energy continues support of kindergarten readiness program Ready to Start with $30,000 donation
If you visit a Ready to Start classroom during the first few days of the program, you are bound to see a bunch of frightened faces. After all, the program is geared toward soon-to-be-kindergartners who haven’t been exposed to preschool, so a classroom setting away from the comforts of home is foreign to them.
“The early days are a little rough. If the students aren’t crying, they’re silent,” said Chip Wilson assistant principal of Granite Point Elementary School. “But, by the end of the first week, these kids look like pros.”
Ready to Start is designed to build social confidence and beef-up a student’s skill base in small group settings during the summer before they enter kindergarten. The five-week program consists of 15 students per classroom and serves about 650 students each year in six Kern County school districts.
“Early childhood education is the very foundation that allows children to become successful students, employees and contributors to society,” said Christina Sistrunk, president and CEO of Aera Energy. “We support programs like Ready to Start because they are considered pre-STEM education and are critically important to the continued success of our industry.”
Sistrunk was welcomed by two dozen happy and inquisitive kindergartners when she visited Granite Pointe to present Aera’s latest contribution of $30,000 on October 22. During the presentation, educators shared stories of Ready to Start’s many successes and Sistrunk was able to witness the fruits of the program first hand.
The success of Ready to Start is much more than anecdotal though. There is plenty of data to back up the significant growth students make in just five weeks.
Students are evaluated pre- and post- program in areas like counting objects, number recognition, basic shapes, arranging by size, days of the week, the alphabet, color identification, sorting and a host of supportive and social skills.
Last summer, 84 percent of students achieved post assessment mastery in the combined areas of math, reading and supportive skills compared to 51 percent mastery before the program.
Wilson said that the program benefits all students enrolled, but it has an even larger impact for the many English Language Learners and migrant students in the program.
“If you’re looking for a program that everyone wins, this is a great example of that,” he said. “Anyone who says that five-weeks doesn’t matter, hasn’t seen this program.”