The United Way of Porter County Kinder Camp program readied 164 students for Kindergarten this past summer.
The 15-day summer school program, designed for 4-to-5-year-olds, provides a positive first school experience to promote a life-long love of learning through exploration of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) concepts. Beyond learning ABCs and initial reading and writing skills, children learn school procedures such as riding a bus and standing in line in order to be more confident on the first day of school.
“Our commitment to a better Northwest Indiana is to provide the resources necessary to give those most in need a better quality of life,” said Kim Olesker, president & CEO of United Way of Porter County. “We are extremely appreciative of ArcelorMittal’s support of this program as we work to help kids at an early age develop critical thinking skills.”
ArcelorMittal is a funder of the Kinder Camp initiative. Thanks to ArcelorMittal, this year’s program doubled in size with expansion in Portage and Valparaiso and first time classes were added in Duneland and Hebron school districts.
“It’s never too early for children to start learning about STEAM,” said Jolice Pojeta, corporate responsibility and communications manager, ArcelorMittal. “Such activities provide these little ones with some of the basic early lessons that will prepare them for what they will experience early on in their formal education experience. ArcelorMittal is happy to support this effort in giving children such exposure to early STEAM activities.”
Beyond assisting the individual child, the program also helps Kindergarten teachers even the classroom learning field, so they and their students can focus on the next level of learning.
“I always look forward to having Kinder Camp attendees in my classroom,” said Donna Batista, Valparaiso Community Schools kindergarten teacher.
“They come emotionally confident and serve as peer mentors for others since they’ve already experienced school. They have had their first bus ride, learned to be an active listener, follow simple directions to accomplish tasks, go through a lunch line and trust other adults outside their family circle to take care of them.”
The Kinder Camp program is part of the United Way of Porter County School Readiness program, an initiative to support and measure the impact of early learning programs across Porter County. Program partners include, Duneland YMCA, Geminus Corporation, Hilltop Neighborhood House, Parents as Teachers and Purdue Northwest Early Learning Center. To learn more, visit www.UWPCSTEAM.org.