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Kid's World's Summer Transition Program prepares rising kindergartners — and their families — for success

Kindergarten here they come! Congratulations to the graduates of Kid's World Learning Center's five-week Summer Transition Program. The children, and their parents, received vital support as they prepare for the fall.
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Summer Transition Program students each received a pair of new shoes to start the school year.

On Friday, June 28, 2024, dozens of small but mighty rising kindergartners completed Kid's World Learning Center's free, five-week Summer Transition Program (STP).

They concluded their fun-filled summer learning experience with a pizza party and a trip to the Shoe Department, where they each got to pick out a new pair of shoes for the upcoming school year. They also received a backpacked filled with school supplies and goodies.

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Summer Transition Program students pose with their new backpacks. . Source: Kid's World Facebook Page

"What I love about the Summer Transition Program is that children who may need additional services aren't sitting at home during the summer. They get the needed support, they get the continual care, and parents get the support as well," shares Michelle Smith Lank, Kid's World's Owner and CEO of nearly 19 years.

"On the children's end, they are still in the routine of learning, and on the parents end, there are five mandatory parent meetings, so the parents have an investment as well," explains Lank.

The parent meetings covered topics like stress management, effective discipline, the importance of language and literacy, kindergarten readiness, and included a guest speaker from Safe Haven.

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Children loved the owls at the Georgia Southern Wildlife Center so much that their teacher helped them create owl artwork in the classroom.

Lank is passionate about offering support and resources for parents and families, in addition to children.

"Last week, we had a meal together at Fordham's Farmhouse," she said. They used the opportunity to talk with families about the importance of sharing a meal together and sitting down at the table.

Throughout the program, children in the STP enjoyed field trips to the Statesboro Library for a magic show, seeing the animals at Wild Georgia Safari, as well as visits from the Book Bus and Big Dog Snow Cones. The field trips are in addition to the time they spent learning through play and hands-on activities in their dedicated Kid's World classrooms.

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STP students predict which objects (Penny, Pencil, Cotton Ball, Wooden Stick, Crayon, and Rubber Band) will sink or float. Source: Kid's World Facebook Page

Because of its "boutique" learning atmosphere, with intentionally small student to teacher ratios, the teachers and staff at Kid's World are especially attuned to the needs of each child in the program and work to provide attention to those areas. This ensures that their STP students will be ready to soar in time for kindergarten.

The program is available to pre-k-aged children who did not complete a full year of pre-k and may benefit from additional support during the summer.

Lank says one of her favorite things about the Summer Transition Program, now in its fifth year, is the appreciation she and the staff receive from the parents. Parents are grateful for the resources and they open up about their challenges, Lank explains. She is determined to continue serving families through this valuable community resource for as long as possible.

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Kid's World Owner and CEO Michelle Smith Lank poses in one of their model classrooms.

"We will continue to offer this program for as long as we can," says Kid's World Director Michelle Lank, who says the state has considered cutting funding for the program. Earlier this summer, Senator Billy Hickman paid Kid's World a visit and he saw firsthand the impact early learning programs like this have on a child's future.

Programs like this one can make a lifelong difference for children and families by supporting a child's development and putting setting them on the course for success in school and beyond.

"Learning begins in the womb," shares Lank, "If we wait until Pre-K to begin education, we've lost four years."