We first saw ridiculously adorable and compact, little Maddox with messy sandy blonde hair, camouflage t-shirt, jean shorts and cowboy boots clinging to his dad’s leg with a sheepish grin spreading across his muddy face that first day of Camp READY! on June 20, 2016. His family lived a half-hour away. Maddox had never been to preschool before. Dad brought Maddox faithfully every day so that Maddox could get ready for kindergarten and have an awesome first year in school.
The teachers and counselors at Bartow’s Camp READY! agreed that Maddox was a bit reluctant to participate at first. In fact, he confidently declared on the first day of camp, “I am not going to sing in the show, and my dad is not coming!” We assured him that he would have a great time singing for the parents and we would make sure his dad would come! Having never been to preschool, he had trouble writing his name, which looked more like he wrote it with an alien alphabet. He could name a few shapes, but could not name any colors. He did not know any numbers between 0-21 and could only identify the letter “W”, which was the first letter of his last name. He also had not spent much time socializing outside of his family and church, so camp was a nice, gentle exposure into getting along with all types of friends at school.
In 20 days, we immersed Maddox in letter sounds, shapes, colors and numbers through play and fun movement activities, readiness, art and cooking centers. He was bombarded with literacy as he listened to dozens of high-quality books in all three classes throughout his morning. He was exposed to all sorts of new vocabulary in positional words with movement activities. While in cooking, he learned science, measuring and dividing food to share. He practiced his letters and their sounds through daily singing of the alphabet song, “Learning Letter Sounds”. Maddox did like to sing, after all. In fact, he was the star of the show, belting out the alphabet song.
After the show, we overheard Maddox talking to his buddy Kyle.
“I think I’m ready for school now. I can spell my dad’s name!”
“Oh yeah? How do you spell it?,” checked Kyle.
Maddox proudly spelled his dad’s name, “D-A-D!”
“That’s how you spell my dad’s name too!”
Kids say the funniest things.