GTK-United-WayToolkits Train Parents to Prepare Kids for School

Remember when kindergarten was all fun and games? Now we know better: if it is done right, kindergarten can teach children to love learning. Getting early practice in social and academic skills is key to succeeding later in school and as an adult. That is why preparing for kindergarten can’t start early enough, especially in City Heights, where kids often lack the basic literacy skills they need to get a good start in school.

Last summer, the City Heights Partnership for Children’s action team of local literacy organizations created an early-reading toolkit to help parents prepare their children for kindergarten. The toolkit covers developmental skills such as recognizing letters and sounds, sighting common words and identifying colors and shapes.

The toolkit also includes blank journals for kids to work on lessons and parents to record progress, school supplies like crayons and paper, activity tips, magnet letters, flashcards and a checklist of skills to practice.

Last summer, more than 30 promotoras — volunteer community members who have received specialized training — helped over 200 families learn to use the toolkits. “The focus is for the child to continue their learning routine from home, daycare or pre-school,” said promotora Miriam Rodriguez, whose children attend Rosa Parks Elementary School. “We told parents that any time spent with their children is a nourishing experience that will help them in their first days of school.”

Miriam reports that the kids loved their books and colorful magnets, while their parents found the toolkits easy to understand.

This year, promotora teams will start “spring training” in April, getting a jumpstart on summer with plenty of time to prepare for school in the fall.

Managed by United Way, The City Heights Partnership for Children is comprised of 80-plus community organizations working together to help all City Heights youth succeed in school and life. Learn more at