Preparing for college before kindergarten

Through a generous grant from the Idaho CapEd Foundation, even more families will be able to take part in the P16 Caldwell Education Project (Staff Photo).

A program in the Treasure Valley is working to inspire kids to go to college before they've even entered kindergarten.

The P16 Caldwell Education Project aims to give every child in Caldwell the building blocks to not only start school but to be successful for years to come.

"The one thing that is absolutely clear in research is the earlier we can intervene in a child's life, for whatever they are needing intervention for, the better," said Julie Mead, Director of Special Services for the Caldwell School District.

P16 stands for preschool through sixteenth grade, or four years of education after high school.

Their goal is to get kids excited about the idea of college through activities like touring college campuses and taking part in a college graduation.

P16 is a first of its kind collaboration between the United Way of Treasure Valley, the YMCA, Caldwell School District, and several other community partners.

The project provides high quality learning for children ages 3 and 4 in Caldwell.

Sacajawea Elementary is one of more than a dozen early education providers in the Caldwell area to implement the program.

"I actually requested the program to be here, because I knew it existed and I know how hard it is for kids to come into kindergarten not having any letters or background with language," said Paul Webster, Principle of Sacajawea Elementary School. "Anytime I see a preschooler walk into my building, whether it's a cousin or a little brother or sister, I almost always ask the parents 'are they in preschool? Are they three or four?' Because I want as many of our kids to get into preschool because I know it benefits that kid down the road."

Now, through a $15,000 grant from the Idaho CapEd Foundation, even more families will be able to take part in the program through available scholarships.

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