Camp helps kids ease into kindergarten


Brooklyn Balduff does whatever “Simon says.”

Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune

Grace Francis reads a book to Bella Stauffer.

Max Hartzog and Kachina Smith identify farm animals.

Amariah Gibbs colors in the letter C.

Molly Caldwell-Kepner picks pictures of clothes would wear on a rainy day.

Sophie Georgiadis applies paint to her lantern to finish decorating it.

Brandon Bertoni uses a roller to flatten out his playdough.

Jack Maguire flattens out the edges of his playdough.

Forty-five students filled Eastwood Elementary School on Thursday for the launch of a four-week KinderCamp.

The camp focuses on helping students transition into kindergarten by meeting teachers they will see every day at school.

Students are learning songs, writing the alphabet, rhyming, learning the days of the week, and doing arts and crafts.

Coordinator Breanna Rebman said the children are learning a lot of the basic skills they need to know for kindergarten.

“We do a lot of fine motor work,” she said. “It truly is an exceptional program.”

Teachers have decorated each roomswith a different theme, including camping, beaches, and bugs: “Each week (the students) travel to another room,” Rebman said.

The camp is free and open to any incoming kindergarten student enrolled at Oberlin City Schools.

It is funded by the Stocker Foundation, which provided books to go with each room’s theme. Oberlin Kids provided material and Oberlin Community Services is offering free lunch to students after camp each day.

“It’s my favorite time of the year,” Rebman said.

She saw a huge difference in students’ behavior and understanding of the school’s requirements last year among kids who participated in KinderCamp.

This year, students at Prospect Elementary School have volunteered to help with the camp.

A family picnic will be held at 9 a.m. July 30 at Eastwood to celebrate the final day and show parents what the students have learned throughout the weeks.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.