Applications are open for another round of Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit Grants. Schools and school districts in DeKalb County, Illinois, are highly encouraged to apply. The applicant can be a kindergarten teacher or another school professional on behalf of the entire kindergarten program. Toolkit Grants support kindergarten programs, both public and private, located in the county. The Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit Program is made possible through donor generosity to CommunityWorks Funds at the DeKalb County Community Foundation. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2021.
“The farm matching cards were a lot of fun,” said kindergartner James Harris from Sycamore. “The box made me excited for kindergarten because of all of the fun things in it.” His mother, Alison, shared her perspective in saying, “The Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits have been such a huge hit in our household. Receiving that box was the first step for my son to feel like a ‘real’ kindergartner, and it got him so excited for school. The supplies inside were similar to what he now uses at school. The extra time to play and familiarize himself made the transition so much easier, especially since he’s one of the youngest in his grade. After so many things in our world have gone virtual, it was so helpful for him to interact with actual, physical tools that kids his age so desperately need.”
“We are looking to provide an estimated 1,500 kindergarten readiness toolkits to children in DeKalb County this year,” said Foundation Community Engagement Director Teri Spartz. “Each toolkit box includes a dry erase board and marker, a book, crayons, sidewalk chalk, scissors, Farm Matching Game, dice, play-doh and, a notebook. The toolkits provide opportunities for families to play an active role in preparing their young learners for the transition to kindergarten. Together, we are helping to give children in DeKalb County a positive start to their education journey.”
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 DeKalb County Regional Office of Education leads the Collaborative along with participating representatives from the DeKalb County Community Foundation, Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C), Family Service Agency, Northwestern Medicine, Children’s Home and Aid, Basics DeKalb County, DeKalb County Health Department, local educators, and community members.
The toolkits also have interest from local community partners. School Tool Box, DeKalb, plays a crucial role in sourcing, assembling, and distributing toolkits. The DeKalb County Farm Bureau donates a Farm Matching Game to promote agriculture literacy and community.
Toolkit distribution occurs in the spring during kindergarten orientation events leading up to the start of the school year. Applicants receive notification of grant status following the December 1 deadline.
For questions about the Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit Grant program, please contact Teri Spartz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-748-5383.