(WRIC) — The United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is expanding its Kindergarten Countdown Camp and will host five classes this summer to help local children get ready to start school.

The United Way said because of the success of its 2019 pilot camp in Dinwiddie, it will host five camps in Dinwiddie, Powhatan and Goochland in summer 2020.

Kindergarten Countdown Camp is a free program for rising kindergartners with limited or no preschool experience. Licensed teachers help prepare students and their parents for a successful start in school. Students will receive breakfast and lunch, a new book each week, passes to a museum and a backpack full of school supplies.

In the Richmond and Petersburg service area, the United Way says one in six students starts kindergarten without the necessary skills.

“Last year’s pilot Countdown Camp was an unqualified success, giving both children and parents the opportunity to lay a valuable educational foundation for learning,” said James Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We know that preschool preparation is a critical and essential part of future success, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to expand the program in 2020.”

Here is a list of the 2020 Kindergarten Countdown Camps:

  • June 22 – July 16, Goochland Elementary, 2 classes
  • June 29 – July 23, Powhatan Elementary, 1 class
  • July 6 – July 30, Southside Elementary (Dinwiddie), 2 classes

Individual school districts will select participants for the Countdown Camps during their kindergarten registration days. For more information and updates, click here.

If you want to volunteer, email Volunteer Coordinator Aimee Selleck at sellecka@yourunitedway.org.