Blogger Katie Salo

Kindergarten Bootcamp

It’s the mid-point of summer reading and school supplies have started popping up in stores around us. Know what it’s time for? Kindergarten Bootcamp!

Kindergarten Bootcamp is a four-day program designed to give entering kindergarteners the opportunity to experience a classroom setting and practice being a student before starting school. We review kindergarten concepts (alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes) while practicing social-emotional skills like sharing, lining up, transitioning, and group work.

Quick Details

  • The class is capped at twenty-five kids.
  • Three staff members participate: one primary teacher, one music teacher, and one art teacher.
  • Class runs from 9:30-11:00 a.m. so we do work on an abbreviated schedule.
  • Caregivers do not stay with their child past drop-off.
A group station on the left, featuring a calendar chart and visual schedule; on the right are four tables with activities on the them.
Kindergarten Bootcamp Set-Up [Photo courtesy of the author.]


I use our large meeting room and have two different areas set up: one group area and one station area. On days when I schedule art or music, those are held in our smaller programming room. The entire room is set-up before kids come in. This gives them the chance to practice patience as they can see the station activities when they come in. It’s also how a real classroom is set-up.


At the beginning of each class, I use our visual schedule to introduce the kids to the day’s activities. Each day has a different theme. The day I took photos, the theme was colors. (The other themes were alphabet, numbers, and shapes.) Here’s a list of each card I had for the visual schedule:

Six trays are filled with colorful sand. Kindergarten Bootcamp students work with these sand trays and foam numbers to practice their writing.
Working on sand writing, tracing around numbers. [Photo courtesy of the author.]

Classes & Activities

  • Circle Time: Gathering together to open and close our day.
  • Reading: Each day, we read a book together. Then, we did an extension activity. So, for our numbers day, I read 123 Peas by Keith Baker and then had the kids help me use do-a-dot markers to make 100 peas on a chart.
  • Math: Each day, we graphed a different favorite or fact about ourselves.
  • Activity Stations: Five stations, all based on the theme of the day.
  • Music: A twenty minute special class.
  • Art: A twenty minute special class.

Four Kindergarten Bootcamp students work on mixing primary colored balls of playdough to create the secondary colors. Plastic bags on the table hold the balls of playdough.
Mixing up primary colored playdough balls to create the secondary colors. [Photo courtesy of the author.]

  • Line Up
  • Clean Up
  • Folders
  • Home

For the activity stations, I turned to Pinterest and teacher blogs to help me create those activities. You can see some of the activities on my Preschool Programs Pinterest board.

Many of them were stations that I had used in previous programs as well. The foam puzzle pieces picture above came from some dollar store puzzles I bought for an author study program. I’ve borrowed food from our play station, and LEGOs from the toys.

From our first year, I did change up about ten of the activities for this next year, based on how well they worked last year. But as for the others, they’re in a Kindergarten Bootcamp box and I can just grab and go with them.

Kindergarten Bootcamp: around twenty pieces of paper laying on the floor and chairs; children's artwork (self-portraits) are on each piece.
Art projects drying in our main classroom. [Photo courtesy of the author.]


Our patrons absolutely loved this program. At the end of our four-day adventure, I made a memory book for each child. I wrote them a good luck letter. And, of course, we had a little “graduation” ceremony.

100% of surveys returned stated that the patron would attend this program again. Here are some of the comments left at the bottom of our survey:

This was such a wonderful program! It offered a familiar environment while introducing some basic expectations for the students. My daughter and I loved it and our friends were envious of our amazing library staff and programs! Thank you for always offering timely programs and making it fun all the while.

This was a fantastic review/practice as a “soft entry” before entering kindergarten. The class was also fun. I loved how music, art, circle time were all there just like a real classroom!

I thought it was a wonderful program. He learned to take turns, raise your hand, and the theme of the day was a good idea.

My daughter really enjoyed this week! Staff did an excellent job! We would love to attend more events like this.

Needless to say, I’m doing this program again in just a few short weeks.

Has anyone else done a Kindergarten Bootcamp program? Any other thoughts or ideas for those who may be starting their own?

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library


This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group and III. Programming Skills.

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