Tools to Succeed in Kindergarten United Way Starts Early Education Intervention Program

Article excerpt

Byline: Madhu Krishnamurthy

Too many Lake County children are not prepared to enter kindergarten, says a leading social service agency.

To provide that needed boost, the United Way of Lake County launched an early childhood education intervention program Thursday at its annual leadership breakfast in Libertyville.

Nearly 300 representatives from leading county businesses, schools, government and social service agencies that partner with United Way attended to support the effort.

The "Success by 6 Home Visiting Program" targets families of preschool-age children identified as at-risk of poor health and low kindergarten readiness. It will be tested in Waukegan, then expanded to other communities, such as the Round Lake area, Mundelein and Gurnee.

The Lake County Health Department, area preschools and social service agencies will identify families needing the most help. They tend to be poor minorities, and new or first generation immigrants, either unemployed or holding part-time jobs, said Twania Brewster, a United Way of Lake County spokeswoman.

"As this begins to roll out, we are not limiting ourselves to just Round Lake, Waukegan, Gurnee and Mundelein," Brewster said. "We are trying to roll it out to all of Lake County, not just to the middle class communities but to every community."

It is part of an ongoing United Way initiative to ready every child for kindergarten through various methods. They include the new one-on-one intervention with families, kindergarten camps, and distributing materials parents can use as learning tools. …