Kindersprouts is a six week summer program to prepare children for success in kindergarten. Bloomington Public Schools runs the program at the Pond Center and it is funded through public and private donations. With grant money from the Bloomington Community Foundation and United Way, Kindersprouts served 120 childrenĀ  in the summer of 2014, double the children served in 2013.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius visited a Kindersprouts classroom in July of 2013 with Bloomington School Superintendent Les Fujitake.

Four days a week for half a day children receive free transportation to the Pond Center where they receive breakfast, tutoring and a classroom experience. Tutoring addresses weaknesses in reading readiness and the classroom experience teaches the daily routines of a classroom, like following directions, waiting in line, raising your hand for a question, changing stations, independent working, and taking turns. The goal is to bring children who score low on a kindergarten readiness evaluation up to the level of their peers before they start kindergarten. Fifty years of research suggests that kids who start behind stay behind.

The school district has enlisted the help of its elementary school principals to personally invite families with young children and encourage their participation in getting assessed. English is a second language for 36% of the Kindersprouts’ students and ten different languages are represented.

Kindersprouts has received grants from the Foundation in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for a total of $30,000. The grants are a directed donation from the Simonson Fund.