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Jump Start Kindergarten Program

Program Description

ODE believes early positive relationships between schools, students, and families shape a child's educational experience for many years to come. Jump Start Kindergarten, a school-based summer program, helps students and their families experience a smooth and successful transition from early childhood into kindergarten.

Jump Start provides a unique opportunity to build relationships, spark joy, and deepen family engagement to support a seamless start to school.

The program is based on three equity-driven program components:

  • Connection as the
    Foundation for Learning

    Children flourish and learn best in the context of strong and supportive

  • Co-Creation, Collaboration,
    and Partnership

    Children succeed when families, schools
    and communities work together during the
    transitioning year.

  • Purposeful Outreach
    and Engagement

    Families thrive when they have access to
    culturally affirming and inclusive environments.

Jump Start Kindergarten is intended to be a part of a broader kindergarten transition plan at the school that includes a variety of transition supports that begin during the year prior to Kindergarten.

While Jump Start Kindergarten programs vary school to school based on the unique needs of the school community, all programs include the following components:

  • A half-day classroom experience for two weeks, at a minimum. Students participate in hands-on activities, classroom routines, and build positive relationships with classmates and educators.
  • Family engagement as a cornerstone of Jump Start. Parents and caregivers have multiple opportunities to connect with school staff and other family members and to learn about school, district and community resources. This might be a school scavenger hunt, a playground meet and greet, or coffee with school staff.
  • Partnerships with community-based organizations such as Head Start, culturally specific organizations, and health providers. These partnerships support strategic outreach with families who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

“I absolutely love this program. It is going to do amazing things for our incoming kindergartners. And our coordinator and teachers are so excited about it.”
- Fred Bartels, Director of Elementary School Improvement at Klamath Falls City School

To learn more about the positive impacts of Jump Start Kindergarten, read the 2022 Brief which highlights promising data on improving attendance rates.

For more information, please contact the ODE Jump Start Kindergarten Team.

Register for Kindergarten Today!


Print-ready materials translated into eight languages are available on ODE's Register for Kindergarten Today! webpage.

Jump Start Kindergarten Toolkit

Jump Start Kindergarten Toolkit Cover Click above image for JSK Toolkit
Jump Start Kindergarten Toolkit Cover Espanol Click above image for JSK Toolkit 
En español

This toolkit offers examples and resources that can be customized to meet the unique needs of your school community, and is organized into six sections:

  • Section 1: A Program Grounded in Equity - highlights the Jump Start Kindergarten strengths-based vision of support and connection with children and families disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
  • Section 2: Planning with Partners - offers tools for planning with community-based partners, including early learning partners.
  • Section 3: Family-Centered Outreach - includes “Register for Kindergarten Today!” materials and family-centered approaches to outreach.
  • Section 4: Planning the Jump Start Experience - provides examples of hands-on, literacy-enriched curricula from across the state and beyond.
  • Section 5: Engaging All Families - includes family engagement activities accompanied by dynamic tools.
  • Section 6: Making a Difference - summarizes the toolkit and encourages continued systems work to align and connect learning.