• Alum Rock Union Elementary School District

    7th Annual Kindercaminata

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

     

     

    KinderCaminata Summary

     

    Program Description

    KinderCaminata is a “children’s walk” developed to give children – many of them from immigrant, low-income families - an introduction to the “college dream.”  The children’s walk consists of taking as many kindergarten students as possible to visit the community colleges.  Students prepare for the visit with their teachers and parents through a series of activities that help them think about what they might like to be when they grow up.  Once at the college, students and their chaperones participate in a number of events including:

     

    a.       Career fair.  College staff and volunteers at the booths engage students in developmentally appropriate activities.  In addition to college staff and student volunteers, the host college recruits a number of representatives from a variety of professions within the county. The recruits and the college staff and volunteers interact with the students explaining to the students what they do professionally and answer their questions.  During the career fair, students receive many career-related gifts for their “treasure bags.” 

    b.       Parent Workshop.  Parents attending the event have an opportunity to attend a parent workshop, either in Spanish or in English.  The parent workshop is designed to inform parents about how to prepare their children for higher education while they are in school.

    c.        College Tour.  After students rotate through all of the career fair booths, they are offered a tour of the college campus.  Volunteer students guide kinder visitors and their chaperones through a walk around the campus.  This helps young children to begin to familiarize themselves with a college campus.

    d.       Cultural Entertainment.  In the middle of the college career fair, students and chaperones are treated to a celebratory cultural event.  Students attend music and dance performances that promote cultural pride.

     

    As a prelude for KinderCaminata, students enrolled in the district’s migrant pre-kinder classes are celebrated with a mini-graduation ceremony at the end of their preschool year.  The students wear caps and gowns, and are given certificates honoring their academic accomplishments.  All of the pre-kinders are included in the following year’s KinderCaminata. 

     

    In preparation for the event, teachers receive a KinderCaminata curriculum.  This curriculum provides them with information about the KinderCaminata, preparatory lessons that promote literacy, careers, and cultural heritage.  As part of their preparation, students learn a bilingual theme song entitled “Si Se Puede/You Can Do It!”.  This song was written to honor the vision and the work of César Chavez.  This is a tribute song to the great humanitarian who believed in the potential of all children in this country.

     

    KinderCaminata was envisioned to promote both high academic expectations in very young learners and pride in their cultural heritage.  The event is held either in March, honoring César Chavez’ birthday, or in April.  In many Latin American countries, April 30th is designated El Dia del Niño or The Day of the Child.  These celebrations provide a context for the selection of the date when the walk takes place.  The next KinderCaminata at Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in partnership with the San Jose Community College District is scheduled for Thursday, April 19th.

     

    Program Goals

    The primary goal of KinderCaminata is to provide students from low-income and/or migrant backgrounds an opportunity to start dreaming about attending college as they begin their academic careers.  In addition, KinderCaminata seeks to strengthen the school-family partnership in preparing all students to attend college.  As a prelude for KinderCaminata, students enrolled in the district’s migrant pre-kinder classes are celebrated with a mini-graduation ceremony at the end of their preschool year.  The students wear caps and gowns, and are given certificates honoring their academic accomplishment.   Finally, KinderCaminata seeks to promote cultural pride and a “can do” attitude in all students and their families as they collaborate with the community to make students’ dreams about college a reality.

     

     

     

     

    Number of Students Served

    Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in partnership with the San Jose Community College District has sponsored KinderCaminata for two consecutive years.  The first year, 2005-2006, five hundred kinder students participated in KinderCaminata.  The second year, 2006-2007, one thousand students participated in KinderCaminata.  The total amount of students participating in the past two years is one thousand five hundred students.  This year, 2011-2012, the goal is to have the entire kinder student population in Alum Rock, approximately 1750 students, participate in KinderCaminata.  In order to achieve this, the school district and the college district have developed a strong partnership that includes a number of community organizations and volunteers.

     

    History of the Program

    KinderCaminata was founded in 1993 by Galal Kernahan.  He presented the concept to Los Amigos de Orange County, a service organization dedicated to enhancing opportunities in the Latino community.  The first KinderCaminata was held in March 31, 1994, at the Santa Ana College with 2,000 participants.  Through the years, the event has expanded in Southern California to include other community colleges like Cypress and Santiago in Orange County.  Now, the event has been adapted for the Bay Area at San Jose City College and Evergreen Valley College in partnership with the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in the South Bay Area.  Nevertheless, KinderCaminata is a very unique event in the Bay Area.  In our context, KinderCaminata has been implemented to provide an opportunity to open the doors for college access to the youngest students and their families in one of the most socio-economically disadvantaged districts in the county.

     

    In the Bay Area, the event has been sponsored by a number of organizations in conjunction with the San Jose Community College District and Alum Rock Union Elementary School District.  The San Jose Fire Department and the San Jose Police Department have supported the event for the past two years.