Summer Explore Kindergarten Transition Program

Summer Explore students speak with a teacher

The Summer Explore Kindergarten Transition Program has just completed another year of preparing students to enter kindergarten in the fall. This free, four-week-long program helps children to develop and maintain skills that will be crucial to their learning in a classroom environment. Being exposed to the school community and its routines during the summer allows these students to be more comfortable and experienced at the beginning of the school year.

Summer is just as important a time for learning as the regular school year, especially for young children who are constantly developing and growing. Serving a range of children – from those who have already been to Somerville preschools to others who have never been to school before – the program prioritizes key learning experiences and helps children to avoid summer learning loss. A strong literacy curriculum includes story telling and acting, exposure to books, and emergent writing; children are also introduced to mathematic principles through hands on materials, such as dice, spinners, and various countable objects. Students also attend activities outside the classroom: music is introduced to foster singing and continue language exposure, and Farm to School classes, taught by a local chef, promote healthy eating. Summer Explore truly highlights the Somerville Public Schools’ commitment to the whole child, addressing the intellectual, creative, social, emotional, and physical needs of each student.

Summer Explore students listen to parents reading a book

A unique aspect of the program is its opportunities for family engagement. Every Thursday, families are invited to arrive early for pick-up and participate in a literacy-related activity. Parents and guardians are able to see the work that their children are doing, while also being prepared for kindergarten themselves and becoming more familiar and comfortable with the school community.

Teachers at Summer Explore love this summer opportunity. With small classrooms and the freedom to structure each day with explorations of themes and topics that the class is interested in, students are given individual attention and some control of what they learn about. One class might be trying to figure out if a blue whale can fit into their classroom, while another might be visiting a bakery. These educators are able to take advantage of their strengths and best practices to ensure a high quality education for each student during this program.

Summer Explore student working

Summer Explore complements the other programs of the Somerville Public Schools summer experience by providing experiences tailored specifically for students entering kindergarten. Early Education Director Lisa Kuh notes that because there is not much summer programming for this age group, families really appreciate this option for their kids. And the students love it too; “The children feel so proud to be going into kindergarten. It is not unusual to say good morning to a child and have them respond, ‘I am in kindergarten!’” said Kuh.

For more information about the Summer Explore Kindergarten Transition Program or Early Childhood programming, please contact Lisa Kuh, Director of Early Education, at lkuh@k12.somerville.ma.us (email) or 617-625-6600 x3656 (phone).