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West Philly Kids get Ready for Kindergarten Thanks to Drexel Program

Kindergarten Bridge Program Introduces School Structure to New Students Ahead of the School Year.

Drexel Kindergarten Bridge 2022

November 18, 2022

School was in session this past summer for new kindergartners in the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood. School of Education students helped 25 children prepare for the new school year through Drexel’s Kindergarten Bridge Program. Through the program, kids learned the daily routine they will experience when they start school for the first time.

“I really like how this gives me experience and opportunity, working with children,” said Tiffany Lee, a sophomore BS in Elementary Education student. “I get to build skills and refine skills I already had and build memories with coworkers and parents.” Four School of Education undergraduate students served as instructors for the 5-week program. They worked with children to get into the habit of lining up and moving from one room to another. They led literacy lessons which included using Jolly Phonics to introduce letters and activities to learn numbers. Students also organized play-based learning activities and arts and crafts where children would draw, paint, and learn how to use scissors safely.

“Each child has a folder, and they take it home each Friday to show their parents,” Lee said. Students also talk to parents at pick-up time to let them know how their child did that day.

The children participating in the Kindergarten Bridge program are all enrolled in elementary schools in the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood. Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Drexel provides a range of services to families including education programs.

Besides literacy, children also learned about the importance of nutrition from Eat Right Philly. The Drexel-based organization visited children each week to lead lessons and sample foods related to a story that was read to the class. Children took it step farther by cooking up their own banana pancakes and fruit pizzas!

The curriculum for the program was designed by Katie Mathew, a PhD student in the School of Education who is researching kindergarten readiness as part of her dissertation.

This year’s Kindergarten Bridge program was hosted by Powel Elementary school in their new location near Drexel’s campus at 36th and Warren streets.