Summer Academy helps children in poverty transition to kindergarten

FIU helps kids with tablet in class

The transition from preschool to kindergarten can be tough for any child, but struggles can be elevated if they have behavioral, learning, or social problems and live below the poverty line.

The Center for Children and Families runs a Summer Academy at Thena C. Crowder Early Childhood Special Education and Diagnostic Center in Liberty City to support 45 children and their families as the kids transition from preschool to kindergarten. Ninty-one percent of participating families  live below the poverty line, which makes the children more vulnerable to developing mental health problems.

This marks the third year of the camp, and it has proven effective: children who participate in the academy are eight times less likely to struggle in kindergarten, and they have more positive relationships with their teachers, said Katie Hart, the program director and an assistant professor of psychology. Funded by the Children’s Trust, the comprehensive school readiness program is adapted from the Summer Treatment Program for Pre-Kindergarteners.

Summer Academy takes place for seven weeks and has a high staff to student ratio. A team of highly attentive staff promote behavioral and social-economical development, academic and literacy skills, physical activity and nutrition, communication and having a positive attitude.

Read about the impact it’s making in children’s lives as featured on the Miami HeraldNBC6 and WLRN.