What is Countdown to Kindergarten (CTK)?

Countdown to Kindergarten is a First Steps program based on other successful school transition models from around the country. Its goals are:

  • to increase the successful transition of South Carolina's most at-risk children into the K-12 school system

  • to increase parent involvement in the early grades (particularly in hard-to-reach communities), when children's learning is foundational for life success

  • to increase public awareness of the importance of school readiness and provide ways for parents and communities to impact children's early school success.

What are the Program Components?

Home Visitation. Teachers make six visits over the summer to the homes of participating students and families. Children and families are introduced to actual materials used in kindergarten and are given a Kindergarten Transition Toolkit to keep. 

Learning Celebration. The last visit is a "field trip" to the school where the child will attend class in the fall. 

Public Awareness. Throughout the summer, First Steps releases tips to media to help parents and caregivers get children ready for kindergarten. 


Countdown to Kindergarten Schools:

  • Cain, St. John, and Pate Elementary schools, Darlington

  • Lamar Elementary, Lamar

  • Rosenwald Elementary, Society Hill

  • Southside Early Childhood Center, Hartsville

Darlington County School Districts places all CTK children in their home visitor's classroom for kindergarten, thereby building upon the teacher-child and parent-teacher relationships built over the summer.


Why CTK is Important!

Pre- and post-survey results show that home visits had a significant positive impact on the frequency of parent-child interactions around early numeracy, reading and early literacy, and arts and crafts activities. Long-term results reported by teachers of Countdown students include stronger school participation among families served by the program as measured in terms of student attendance, parent teacher conferences, and parent volunteering. - Teacher College, Columbia University