Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK)
Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) is a family-focused kindergarten-readiness program that works collaboratively with families, schools, and the community. SPARK helps children prepare for school by building language, reading, and social skills and seeking to create a seamless transition into school for children between the ages of 4 and 6. SPARK parent partners deliver monthly home- (and occasional group)-based lessons and activities to families of preschool-aged children. The structured lesson plans and activities SPARK offers are aligned with the Ohio Department of Education’s Early Learning and Development Standards. In partnership with community agencies and schools, SPARK ensures that barriers to school readiness are removed. Children with developmental, social, emotional, or mental health issues are referred to community resources to address issues before they prevent school readiness. SPARK completes a series of screenings and assessments to identify and monitor the child’s development. Each month, a SPARK Parent Partner visits children in their home. During this monthly home visit, a parent or guardian must be present and active in the session, serving as the child’s Learning Advocate. The SPARK Parent Partner models activities for the parent or guardian, coaching them in strategies to enhance the education experience of their child. Through these interactions in the home, it is intended that the child becomes ready for kindergarten and also that the parent or guardian gains confidence, knowledge, and ability to serve as the primary educator in their child’s life and development. If you’d like to enroll your preschool-aged child in SPARK, call or text 937-561-2451 for more information.
Quote from Angie Caudill, Kindergarten teacher at Perrin Woods:
The SPARK program has benefited both the preschool family and also the kindergarten classroom. As a Kdg. teacher, it has been great to receive students from the SPARK program who are coming to us with the needed skills for school readiness.
Skills such as holding pencil and crayons, knowing how to use scissors, knowing letter names and sounds are all things that kids learn in the SPARK program and are key to providing the foundation for the learning that takes place at school. SPARK helps kids be successful students.
Testimonial from Sara Dixon, former Perrin Promise Director and SPARK supporter:
Perrin Woods School is so grateful for the Wilson-Sheehan Foundation that has made it possible for our incoming kindergarten students and families to benefit from the SPARK program. SPARK is awesome! I love that the program is family-based and empowers parents to help their children be ready for a great start to their school journey….which is especially important for kids growing up in poverty. The SPARK team has done great work by supporting parents, ensuring that kids have the skills needed to start school, and by providing a communication connection for schools so that they are adequately prepared to receive the students into the classroom. It really is a win-win for everyone involved.
We have especially appreciated that the SPARK team has been continually willing to do whatever it takes to help make the transition to school be a successful one for the children and families with whom they work.
Last fall during Kindergarten screening at Perrin Woods, one of our SPARK participants was having a really hard time during his screening evaluation at the school. In fact, he wouldn’t speak a word! The teachers had no way of knowing what skills and needs that he would have coming into their classroom. Because the teacher knew that the child was a SPARK participant, she was able to call the SPARK partner for assistance. Jack came right up to the school and spent the morning next to his little buddy as he completed the Kindergarten screening. During the first few days of school, Jack continued to stop in once in awhile to encourage the student and help give him the confidence to learn. The student, with that extra support in transition, was able to have a successful year of Kindergarten.
I really hope that the SPARK program will grow to reach more families in our community.