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Ready, set, go . . . to kindergarten
DavidRamirez-K-readiness with story 5

 Did you know that Manteca Unified has a department dedicated to preparing students for success in kindergarten?
Manteca Unified School District is committed to school readiness for every child living in MUSD. The Manteca Unified School Board adopted a resolution on June 29, 2004, establishing Manteca Unified as a Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade district.
This commitment was affirmed with the creation of the School Readiness department which was given the task of supporting existing preschool programs and extending readiness services to all four-year-olds in the community.
Preschool is a 3-hour program available in French Camp, Lathrop, Manteca and Weston Ranch through partnerships with Child Abuse Prevention Council, Creative Child Care, Inc., Head Start, Kids Academy, First 5 San Joaquin, San Joaquin County Office of Education and California Department of Education.
According to findings from a First 5 San Joaquin 5-year Longitudinal Study, February 2013, “overall, children in the preschool cohort appear to have benefited from attending a First 5 preschool.”
“Compared to children who did not attend preschool, they have lower rates of absenteeism in school, lower overall rates of grade retention, and better classroom performance based on teacher-reported grade reports in the areas of language arts and math.”
A principal commented: “The students that have attended preschool are far better prepared than the students that do not take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. (The preschoolers) know the routine.”
“They enjoy school and participate in the activities and are ready to learn the first day. We are happy that 70% of our incoming kindergarten students have been to preschool.”
From a parent: “Our daughter has learned more than we could have imagined this past school year.”
“She is confident in her academic skills, and we are confident in her social skills, and overall we feel that she is ready for kindergarten.”
Transitional Kindergarten (TK) – is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program for children turning five years old between September 2 and December 2. This program provides students with the gift of time to deepen their knowledge and grow socially in order to be better prepared for the rigors of today’s kindergarten expectations. The TK program is taught by kindergarten teachers at eleven school sites.
Kaylee Baker loves teaching transitional kindergarten at August Knodt Elementary School. This is her second year teaching TK. “I have a great class again this year,” shared   Baker. “And I’m so excited to know that my students from last year are doing great in kindergarten. The K teachers are telling me that my former students are providing the model of what is expected in K.”
Kindergarten Bridge – is a “bridge” between home and school for incoming kindergarteners. The K Bridge, which takes place the week prior to the start of school, gives students the opportunity to get to know their teacher and kindergarten school environment as well as make new friends. Teachers have observed that the K Bridge allows the child and parent a relaxed transition into school.
Rosemarie Buccieri has taught the K Bridge at George McParland School for 7 years. “I love the Bridge program! The children are exposed to school routines making them better prepared to enter the “academic world” with less anxiety. Parents and children learn that school is a safe and fun place.”
Data compiled by Harder and Company Community Research for MUSD 2014 First 5 bridge indicates that 95.1% of parents were satisfied or very satisfied with the amount of information they received from their child’s bridge program.
Parent comments included, “All teachers were very informative. Highly recommended.”
“Thought it was very informative-was really clear with what is expected for kindergarten.”
“I know what I need to practice during vacations and got a lot of information on what to expect for kindergarten.”
The Kindergarten Readiness Handbook is a guide to help parents prepare their child for Kindergarten. It includes a list of skills that will make kindergarten less stressful, a “before school starts” checklist, language arts and math grade level overview, website references, and an April-July activity calendar.
The Kindergarten Readiness Activity Book is a student centered packet with things for the student to do before going to kindergarten. Skill practice includes tracing letters and numbers, identifying shapes, writing your first name, and cutting along lines.
Mrs. Ramirez shared, “I love it because it gave my son tools that will better prepare him for Kindergarten. Thank you for this program.”
What’s next for Manteca Unified School District’s youngest students? The School Readiness department has plans to offer full-day/full-year state funded preschool at Golden West and Manteca Day.
In the words of Robert Fulghum, author of All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: “Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten.”
Let the School Readiness department help you get your child ready for kindergarten. Visit the district website for kindergarten readiness resources.