Newsroom Update

United Way Prepares for 2020 Kindergarten Countdown Camp

Responding to COVID-19

After a successful pilot in 2019, we planned to expand Kindergarten Countdown Camp to five camps in three locations in 2020 (original announcement below). However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted to virtual camps for summer 2020. We plan to resume in-person Kindergarten Countdown Camps in 2021.

While it is still cold outside, we are already looking forward to summer, when we will expand Kindergarten Countdown Camp, one of our most impactful new programs.

Building off the success of the 2019 pilot camp in Dinwiddie, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg will host five Kindergarten Countdown Camps this summer in schools across Powhatan, Goochland and Dinwiddie. This expansion will ensure that more young children in our region are prepared and equipped to start school.

All 2020 Kindergarten Countdown Camps will take place in July. Camp locations include:

 Goochland Powhatan Dinwiddie 
Program Date June 22- July 16 June 29- July 23 July 6-July 30 
Location Goochland Elementary Powhatan Elementary Dinwiddie Elementary
# of classes 2 1 2 

What is Kindergarten Countdown Camp?

United Way’s Kindergarten Countdown Camp is a free summer learning program for rising kindergarten students with limited or no preschool experience. Taught by licensed teachers, Kindergarten Countdown Camp prepares students and their parents for a successful start in kindergarten. While at Camp, students receive breakfast and lunch, a new book each week, passes to a museum and a backpack full of school supplies.

Students that begin kindergarten without the necessary skills will struggle to hit crucial milestones, including reading by third grade and graduating high school on time. United Way’s Kindergarten Countdown Camp prepares young students to meet these benchmarks by making sure they start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.

The process for selecting Kindergarten Countdown Camp participants will vary by school. Districts will use Kindergarten Registration Day Data to inform participant selection. More information will be posted about the registration process in the coming months.

If you have immediate questions, contact:

Leanne Lytle
Director of Community Impact 

If you want to volunteer, contact:

Emily Watkins
Senior Director of Strategic Engagement
(804) 771-5835

Learn more about Kindergarten Countdown Camp.

Kindergarten Countdown Camp focuses on basic kindergarten skills like recognizing shapes, letters, counting, writing their name, adjusting to the classroom setting and even riding the school bus. The camp also teaches children important social emotional skills such as following directions and routines, working with peers and expressing emotions.

“He needed to get a feel of being around other children. He was the only child until recently so he kind of always had my full attention. I wanted him to learn to be sociable.”

– Kindergarten Countdown Camp Parent on why they enrolled their child in Camp.

Each Kindergarten Countdown Camp participant is given two kindergarten readiness assessments: one at the beginning of camp and one at the end. The assessments measure students’ readiness skills and social emotional skills. Teachers suggest children should at least in “in progress” on these key skills when starting kindergarten. View the data from our 2019 Kindergarten Countdown Camp in Dinwiddie, VA.

Kindergarten Countdown Camp also helps parents prepare for this new transition for their child through Parent Events. At the Parent Event, parents learn about school readiness skills, school health requirements and community resources. The Parent Event also provides an opportunity for parents to meet district and school staff to begin the process of creating a strong partnership with their child’s educators.

“The program is fantastic for families and children entering school for the first time. It was a great tool to prepare the kids and myself for the upcoming school year!”

– Kindergarten Countdown Camp Parent

Read the story about how Kindergarten Countdown Camp changed the start of school for one parent and her twins.