Countdown to Kindergarten (CTK) is a summer home visitation model connecting rising kindergartners and their families with their future teachers.  The program is designed:

  • to forge strong and lasting home-school relationships,
  • to acquaint children and families with the state and classroom expectations to increase the likelihood of school success,
  • to increase parent involvement in the early grades (particularly in hard-to-reach communities), when children’s learning is foundational for life success; and
  • to increase public awareness of the importance of school readiness and provide ways for parents and communities to impact children’s early school success.


  • 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.

Recent successes include:

  • 100% of the Kershaw County Countdown to Kindergarten teachers surveyed stated that the program accomplished the goal of targeting at-risk children in the county.
  • Kershaw County Countdown to Kindergarten teachers surveyed stated that majority of the children participating were more successful than other students from similar backgrounds.
  • 100% of the Kershaw County parents surveyed state that they would be involved at the child’s school.
  • 85% of the Kershaw County parents surveyed stated that they have a better relationship with their child’s teacher.