Our United Voice

Kindergarten or Bust!

Monday, June 16, 2014

By Breck Thomas-Ross
Choices - they can overwhelm any parent, especially me.  Whether it was selecting the right car seat or crib, I’ve been overwhelmed with parenting choices.  Is this one safe enough?  That one has better ratings. But this one is really cute!  As my daughter got older, the choices changed.  Where should she go to preschool?  How many days should she go?  Half-day or full-day?  Now that we’re approaching kindergarten, I don’t have a choice – I have to get her ready. That’ll be easy, right?

My daughter, Elyse, misses the cut-off for kindergarten by two days.  Two days!  A few years ago, I thought there had to be a way for her to start when she was 4 since she’d just be missing the cut-off by two days. Surely she could test-up or something?  I was in a hurry for her to get to kindergarten, but I didn’t really know why.  She’s bright, talkative, socialized.  She’s ready! Then, while checking out various schools, someone brought up an incredibly valid point that I’d never considered.  I’ll have more time with her if she starts kindergarten when she’s older; plus, I’ll have her at home another year before she goes to college!  Even if she was academically ready, why would I want to rush her to start school?  That settled it for me.  She’ll be an older 5, and that’s just fine.

So how exactly do I get a little person ready for kindergarten? What do I choose to do?  (There are those choices again!)  Someone may have the perfect formula out there; but honestly, I’ve found that simply getting her excited about learning is pretty perfect.  Kids love to make their parents smile.  
When Elyse read for the first time, really read, I smiled so much I was in tears! She’s reading! Wow!  No matter what it’s been – reading, music, art, etc. – when she sees me excited about what she’s done, she’s excited.  It’s that excitement that seems to drive her.  Now, I tease her and ask if she’s going to kindergarten or to college!

When you make the choice to prepare your child – whether it's kindergarten, college or life – you want to do it right.  Fortunately, there’s plenty of help out there. I love the "Kindergarten Countdown" program. I took Elyse to the library recently, and it was hard to get her out of there!  She read four books while we were there and took home a half dozen more.  She’s excited about this! (See, it’s working!)

I’ll have to admit, choosing summer camps was a little daunting.  We’re doing ones that are fun with an educational component.  Knowing that the big kahuna (a.k.a. kindergarten) is just around the corner, I wanted to keep the learning component throughout the summer.  We’re reading our way through the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” list.   When one is a favorite, we wear out the pages.  Learning comes in many forms so we volunteer, too.  Even at a young age, kids can learn to give back, especially when they’re given the choice to do so.  Take your little one with you and read to other kids, serve a meal or make cards for children who are ill.

As my company’s manager of our Metro United Way campaign, I’ve come to know the amazing ways the organization gives back to our community.  But it was when my daughter became school-age that Metro United Way’s mission to prepare children for school and make sure they graduate on time really hit home.  Not only do I want my child to be ready, I want every child to be ready.  We really have no choice; it’s up to us.  I’ll have another choice when my baby starts kindergarten in August, to cry or not to cry.  That’ll be easy, right? 

Breck Thomas-Ross
Corporate Communications
Editor, Hi! Intranet News Site
Manager, Corporate Nonprofit Campaigns

Breck is television journalist turned corporate communicator.  Prior to joining Humana almost 9 years ago, Breck spent 13 years as a television news anchor and reporter.  She now utilizes many of her journalism skills in her work with Humana’s internal communications.  She serves as editor of Humana’s intranet news site.  Breck also manages both of Humana’s corporate nonprofit campaigns which raise money for Metro United Way and Fund for the Arts.  Each campaign has grown to nearly $2 million and over $1 million, respectively, under Breck’s leadership.

Breck holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from Western Kentucky University.  While in broadcasting, Breck received multiple awards from the Associated Press, including ‘Best Reporter,’ as well as two Emmy nominations.  Through her work at Humana, Breck has been honored as the ‘Campaign Coordinator of the Year’ by both Metro United Way and Fund for the Arts.’  She also received the ‘Award of Excellence’ for her campaign communications from the International Association of Business Communicators.  She is a past board member of Volunteers of America and recently served on the Campaign Cabinet for Metro United Way. She is the proud mother of one daughter, Elyse.    

1 comment

  1. Love this story! A wonderful world has been opened to Elyse through her early love of reading.


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