United Way’s Kindergarten Countdown Gets Local Preschoolers Off to a Good Start

By: United Way of La Porte County Last Updated: July 1, 2015

United-Ways-Kindergarten-Countdown-Gets-Local-Preschoolers-Off-to-a-Good-Start-01Dr. James Dworkin, Chancellor of Purdue North Central, helped kick off this year’s Kindergarten Countdown class by engaging with pre-K students at Lake Hills Elementary School.

He read them his book, The Dog and the Dolphin, complete with a slide show presentation so everyone could see the illustrations, as well as a stuffed dog and dolphin that were passed around … after Dr. Dworkin used them as props during his animated storytelling.

The United Way of LaPorte County Kindergarten Countdown Camps help pre-K students – many of whom come from families living at or below the poverty level – prepare academically and socially for kindergarten. The camps focus on essential academic and socialization skills and are taught by experienced kindergarten teachers. Literacy test scores of students consistently increase, as well as their confidence and enthusiasm for school overall.

Because early reading skills are so crucial to academic success, each year, the local community supports a book drive so that the students receive a book for each day that they attend the camp. Many volunteers and companies worked to donate children’s books for this effort, including Alcoa Howmet, Dunebrook, Settlers Place Senior Living Center and the Michigan City Police Department Explorers Post #75 and UPS. United Way has donated the funds to purchase Dr. Dworkin’s book so that each child will receive a new copy of The Dog and the Dolphin as well.

Kindergarten Countdown is supported by United Way of LaPorte County donors, as well as grants from NIPSCO, IU Health, and the Indiana Association of United Ways.