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Camp Big Readiness helps children prepare for Kindergarten

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:50 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex at WKU provides many programs and services for children of all ages in the community. The complex is home to the Kelly Autism Program. Though it is an inclusive and accommodating environment for students with disabilities, many children without disabilities also attend.

“Our goal is to individualize whatever we do so that we’re challenging those children to the next level,” Beth Schaeffer, the director of the Renshaw Early Childhood Center, said. You can learn more about the different programs offered here.

For the first time, Camp Big Readiness is being held at the CEC. It is aimed at helping younger children transition into Kindergarten after a year of somewhat living in isolation because of the pandemic.

“We realized when kids start coming back in the spring, there were a lot of deficits about being in a group setting,” Schaeffer said. “They were nervous, they hadn’t been with other children before.”

Throughout last week and this week, the kids participated in several activities in a group setting to focus not only on academics but basic skills you use in everyday life.

“I know that sounds silly, but they’ve not been to public restrooms with COVID. That just didn’t happen. So, we go to the public restroom here and we talk about washing hands and lining up...” Schaeffer explained.

One parent said the camp has really helped her son prepare for the upcoming year of Kindergarten. Her son Colt has been attending the Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex at WKU since he was two years old.

“It just allowed him to be in a completely inclusive environment where he was able just to come to school and preschool just like any other child with no limitations to him,” Brooke Basham said.

WKU students also have been helping out at the event. “We also had clinicians, speech, graduate students that come in and assist with this program, we’ve had some student workers who were majoring in early childhood or communication disorders that worked with us,” Schaeffer explained.

Camp Big Readiness is set to become a recurring event at the CEC.

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