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1,530 Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits Awarded to DeKalb County Schools

The DeKalb County Community Foundation is pleased to announce the Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits grant program. Grants will provide 1,530 kindergarten readiness toolkits to children in DeKalb County. This effort helps families to prepare for the transition from pre-k to kindergarten. Toolkits are provided by a grant from the Community Foundation in partnership with School Tool Box, DeKalb.

“We are thrilled to help create a positive first step toward kindergarten by offering a toolkit that encourages families to make learning fun,” said Foundation Community Engagement Director Teri Spartz. “The toolkits provide opportunities for families to play an active role in preparing their young learner for the transition to kindergarten. Each toolkit box includes a dry erase board and marker, crayons, sidewalk chalk, scissors, Farm Matching Game, dice, play-doh and, a notebook.”

The grant program originated as part of the DeKalb County Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative, which leads a countywide effort to better prepare children for school and life success. The Collaborative is made up of representatives from the DeKalb County Community Foundation, the Trauma-Informed Committee, Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C), DeKalb County Regional Office of Education, DeKalb County Health Department, DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board, local educators, and community members.

The toolkits drew interest from other partners like School Tool Box and the DeKalb County Farm Bureau to become a true community effort. School Tool Box plays a key role in sourcing, assembling, and distributing toolkits to grantees.

“School Tool Box is a company that cares about kids and their education,” said President of School Tool Box Doug Stice. “We are driven by a passion and a focus to serve our customers, our employees, our families, and our community. DeKalb County has been very good to us. We are happy to play a part in this toolkit program and give back to the community.”

Another key partner in this effort is the DeKalb County Farm Bureau who donated 1,500 Farm Matching Games to promote agriculture literacy and community throughout DeKalb County. Each game consists of 60 cards (30 matches) that feature farm machinery, animals, and a glossary with a brief explanation of each photo.

“We were thrilled to partner with the Foundation by providing the matching games,” added Farm Bureau Ag Literacy Coordinator, Rhodora Collins. “Our game familiarizes children and their families with the farm world all around them. We believe the game perfectly addresses our ag literacy goals while meeting the Foundation’s efforts for kindergarten readiness.”

Normally, toolkits would be distributed during spring semester kindergarten orientation events to use in the months leading up to the start of the school year. Due to the impact of Covid-19 on our schools, the distribution was delayed and distribution will happen at a later date as determined by individual schools who received grants. Kingston Elementary was able to distribute 125 toolkits to students during their kindergarten registration process prior to the shelter-in-place order.

The Community Foundation is proud to be a part of the Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative. Together, we are helping to give children in DeKalb County a positive start to their education journey. To learn more about the Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit Grant program, please contact Teri Spartz at t.spartz@dekalbccf.org or 815-748-5383.

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