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Saint Xavier University Preparing Youngest Students

University receives grant for Transitions to Kindergarten Program

CHICAGO (March 4, 2005) – Saint Xavier University received a grant from the McCormick Tribune Foundation for support of the Transitions to Kindergarten program. Beverly Gulley, dean of the education department at Saint Xavier, wrote the grant to procure funding for the program, which will design a curriculum and develop strategies for preparing pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers to transition children and their families into kindergarten.

The McCormick Tribune Foundation was established as a charitable trust upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, and distributes funding for multiple causes, including the improvement of early childhood education in Chicago.

The impetus for this program, according to Gulley’s proposal, stems from research that suggests that children who make a smooth adjustment and experience early school success tend to maintain higher levels of social competence and academic achievement.

This year’s $48,000 grant, which can potentially be refunded, will go toward personnel and administrative costs. Children in selected childcare centers will participate, at no cost to parents.

“We will be working with the Barbara Vick Early Childhood Center and two other private child care centers yet to be identified,” Gulley said. “We will be working with early childhood staff and parents to assist them in helping children make the transition to kindergarten.”

Transitions to Kindergarten will prepare students for numerous school issues, including classroom structure, cultural diversity and children with special needs. In addition, professional development workshops will be held for in-service teachers and administrators, parents and guardians and pre-service teachers. 

Pre-service teachers from Saint Xavier who are enrolled in the elementary and early childhood education programs will be invited to these workshops and the discussed topics will be incorporated in the University curricula.

“The Transitions to Kindergarten program supports the mission of the University by assisting children and their families in the critical transition that children make from pre-kindergarten to kindergarten,” said Gulley. “The program offers a model to Saint Xavier University students who are preparing to be teachers of young children.”

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