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The original item was published from 4/17/2023 11:12:41 AM to 7/29/2023 12:00:01 AM.

News Flash

Health Department

Posted on: April 17, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Camp Kindergarten helps kids prepare for school success

teacher showing flashcards to two young children

(Riley County, KS – April 17, 2023) Registration is open for the 8th year of Camp Kindergarten, hosted by Riley County Health Department and USD383. Children who are eligible to start kindergarten this fall can apply to join the camp, which will be held at Lee Elementary School in Manhattan. The camp is free and April 30th is the deadline to apply. Interested parents can fill out an application online at or call the health department at (785) 776-4779 ext.7663. Applications are available in English or Spanish. Class size is limited to 12 students per session, for a total of 48 participants.

Camp Kindergarten offers many of the same activities children will experience at school, such as literacy activities, art, water play, sensory activities, recess, playtime, and snack time. Kids will learn how to follow routines, how to take turns, and how to behave in a classroom.

Kids in the camp will spend four weeks in half-day sessions (mornings or afternoons) in a classroom setting with licensed elementary teachers from USD383 and experienced support staff. This free program represents a partnership between Riley County Health Department’s Raising Riley program and USD383. It is designed to help kids build skills that will lead to success in school.

“It’s fun to see how much the kids grow and learn in just four weeks,” said Chelsea Manwarren, Raising Riley Community Outreach Coordinator. “Kids make significant improvements in sound identification and rhyming skills and get used to the routines and tasks of school.”

The program is especially helpful for kids who have not attended pre-school. Priority for attendance is given to families who are low-income, at-risk, teen parents, or children who have not attended any form of pre-school.

“Getting to experience a classroom setting for a short period helps kids build confidence and overcome fears,” said Manwarren. “They get to see what school will be like, and it helps set the tone for success. USD383 kindergarten teachers have shared a lot of positive feedback over the years, saying children who attended Camp K are better prepared for school than peers who did not attend preschool.”

The mission of Raising Riley is to strengthen at-risk families and help prepare their children for lifelong learning through the combined efforts of staff, parents, and community collaboration.

Raising Riley is located in the Riley County Health Department’s Family and Child Resource Center, at 2101 Claflin Road. Find more information at and follow Raising Riley on Facebook at   

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