ECA Blog

Where did the time go?

Like most parents, when I brought home my child home, it seemed like I had all the time in the world before I would send him to school.  Then one day I woke up and realized that preschool was already upon us, and that in just a few short years he would start going to school every day.  Now those years have also passed and at the end of the summer, my baby will officially be in kindergarten.  Looking back, I can only hope that I did enough to help prepare him and lay the foundation for his journey ahead.

In April we started the process of “officially transitioning” him to kindergarten by attending Kindergarten Round-up.  However, we really started the process when he started preschool by helping him to work towards independence and giving him experiences to enable him to be successful through the process. This summer is no different.  To help us keep up the momentum and continue towards the start of school, here are a couple of great resources I found to use.  You might want to check them out as well.

  • Transitioning to Kindergarten from NAEYC.  For families, Starting school can be scary and exciting for both you and your child. Effective kindergarten teachers know that children are individuals who each start kindergarten with a wide range of skills. You do not need to drill your child with letters, numbers, and facts, before school starts.  But there are some things you can do to prepare both you and your child for kindergarten.
  • Let’s get ready for Kindergarten from Chestnut Ridge School District.  I know this is for another state, but the activities are simple, quick, and easy to do over the summer to support your child’s development and growth of skills needed as he/she prepares to enter kindergarten. Completing these activities with your child will also help strengthen the bond between you and ensure quality time together on a daily basis. Reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills are essential throughout your child’s academic career. Social, emotional, and self-help skills are equally important. A combination of all of these skills will be touched on throughout this booklet. Along with these suggested activities, it is always a great idea to read to your child every day.
  • Reading Rockets has a 10 Weeks of Summer Reading Adventures for You and Your Kids.  Each week includes six or seven fun and easy ideas for practicing skills that fit right into your own summer adventures. Parents can also use the month of May to speak with their child’s preschool teacher about activities to do at home that will help keep learning alive over the summer. 



Get Ready To Read emphasizes that the year before kindergarten is the ideal time for parents to foster and build their child’s skills for a strong start in school.  To help you prepare your child for the future, they have developed parent resources that you can take advantage of today.

  • Skill Building Activities  – Use this set of activity cards for ideas to try at home. 

Looking back on how fast this time has come for our family, I realize that it is never too early to start the process.  Even though she is just beginning her journey into preschool this fall, now is the time to start laying the foundation for my daughter’s success in school.  I know from the past couple of years that the time will fly, and before I know it, she will be starting Kindergarten as well.


Have a Great Week!


School Age Summer Magic

Roberta Newman writes, “There’s something special about summer. It’s a special time. To dream, to kick back, to relax, to play, to learn new skills, to take time to get good at things, to enjoy life with friends, to have special kinds of excitement that seem like magic.” Roberta is right. There is something special about summer. Roberta calls this summer magic.  To me, summer magic is that warm fuzzy feeling that brings back fond memories of my own amazing summer experiences.  If we want our kids to have magical memories, then we need to create magical experiences.  Otherwise, mediocre experiences will leave behind mediocre memories. You see, the experiences we create are the memories we leave behind.  How do we create magical memories? Let’s look at the Indiana Summer Learning Standards as a guide.

The Summer Learning Standards outlines the best practices and recommendations specific to high quality summer programming for K-12 youth.  The standards define high quality summer programming as those who promote a wide range of academic achievement and positive youth outcomes. Summer learning programs help children catch, up, keep up and work ahead through hands-on learning, engaging programming, and creative projects-all that are fun! Here’s a snapshot of what to look for in high quality school-age summer programs:

  • Opportunities for Summer Magic and Learning
  • Activities that help kids catch up, keep up, and work ahead
  • Hands-on learning, engaging programming, creative projects and field trips
  • Wide variety of experiences tied to learning, including:
    • ü  Hands-on activities that promote critical thinking, explanation and creative expression
    • ü  Service learning/community involvement
    • ü  Experience the outdoors and the world around them through field trips & adventures
    • ü  Movement and exercise
    • ü  Learn and practice skills needed for success in school, college, careers and life
  • Trained and experienced staff

For more information on the Indiana Summer Learning Standards and to download, visit


School-Age Child Care Programs needing support

If you’re a child care provider looking to improve your school-age summer experiences, schedule an onsite technical assistance visit. Together, we will customize a diverse and dynamic summer schedule that’ll keep your school-agers engaged and wanting more.  Contact me by email or 574-360-3070.


Have a great summer!



Quote excerpt mentioned is from Roberta Newman’s article, Tapping in to the Magical Rhythms of Summer.



Karin Gilbert is ECA’s School-Age Specialist, serving Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble, St. Joseph, Steuben, and Whitley Counties.  Karin has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University-South Bend and an Indiana Youth Development Credential.  She has 15 years of experience in school-age youth work. Karin provides support for providers of SA programs to increase the quality of SA care.

Contact Karin at 574-360-3070