Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit Grants

Early learning and kindergarten educators in DeKalb County have identified kindergarten readiness toolkits as a positive way to engage young children and their families. By using the resources provided in the toolkits, parents and other family members can create fun learning experiences for their children and help prepare them for school. The toolkits include items and tools that families and children can share together. Each toolkit box includes a book, dry erase board and marker, crayons, sidewalk chalk, scissors, DeKalb County Farm Bureau Matching Game, dice, Play-Doh, a notebook, and information on Basics DeKalb County.

Our teachers and families have learned that kindergarten readiness toolkits provide a wide variety of benefits including:

  • An easy way to explain what kindergarten is all about
  • Bridging pre-K and kindergarten programs
  • Explaining the differences between pre-K and kindergarten
  • Providing a curriculum guide that informs families what they can do with their children to get them ready for kindergarten
  • Simple easy resources for parent and family engagement

Kindergarten Readiness toolkits are fun and easy to use. Our Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative worked with local kindergarten teachers to create short videos that demonstrate ways to use the items in the toolkits. The videos are available in English and Spanish.

VIDEOS - How to Use the Toolkits >

Applying for a Toolkit Grant

Applications open for Kindergarten Readiness toolkits in the fall of each year. All applicants should review the Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit Grant guidelines prior to applying. Applications go through a review process by members of the DeKalb County Collaborative for Young Children, with final approval from the Community Foundation Board of Directors. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on December 1.

For questions or more information, please contact Community Engagement Director Teri Spartz at 815-748-5383 or

Nondiscrimination Policy - Grantmaking

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex and gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, pregnancy, veteran status, military obligations, marital or parental status, political affiliation, or any other improper criterion be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available by the Community Foundation, and any other program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds appropriated for grants, cooperative agreements, and other assistance administered by the Community Foundation.

Grants Awarded

  • Spring 2023 - 1,150 Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits Awarded to DeKalb County Schools
  • Spring 2022 - 1,200 Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits Awarded to DeKalb County Schools
  • Spring 2021 - 1,130 Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits Awarded to DeKalb County Schools
  • Spring 2020 - 1,530 Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits Awarded to DeKalb County Schools

April 2023- Sandwich Elementary School students receive readiness toolkits.

April 2023- Preschool students engage in learning experiences that help prepare them for school.

The Kindergarten Readiness Initiative for DeKalb County is overseen by the DeKalb County Collaborative for Young Children. 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.

Learn more about Kindergarten Readiness >

Toolkit Grant Survey

For families who received a Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit, we need your feedback! Use the link below to complete a short survey on the effectiveness of the toolkit grant program. Survey questions include; what items you liked; what items were used the most, what item(s) were your child’s favorite, and an opportunity to tell us what’s missing from the toolkit. Your responses will help us improve the toolkits for future recipients. Plus, our generous donors love to hear feedback from local families. Your opinion is important to us and we greatly value your feedback! 

Complete the Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit Survey >

Donor Opportunity!

Join us in supplying a Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit ($11 each). Donate online or via check to the DeKalb County Community Foundation - 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, IL 60178. Memo: Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits.

DONATE ONLINE - Provide toolkits for DeKalb County kindergartners >

The DeKalb County Community Foundation's commitment and support to early care and education is made possible by 20 CommunityWorks Funds, generating over $100,000 annually. Thank you to the generous donors who support these Field of Interest Funds!

Learn more about CommunityWorks >