May 12, 2023

Contact: Sophie Grimes, Communications Coordinator
Organization: Collaboration for Early Childhood 


On Sunday, May 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Rehm Park, children who will start kindergarten in Oak Park this fall and their families are invited to a fun, informative, space-themed event that celebrates and supports this exciting new step for children and their families. 

OAK PARK, IL May 12, 2023 – In partnership with the Park District of Oak Park, the Collaboration for Early Childhood is eagerly counting down the days until the “launch” of brand new community event that celebrates and supports families preparing to start kindergarten. The event will take place on May 21 in Oak Park’s Rehm Park, located at 1000 S Scoville starting at 10:00 a.m. All children and families who will be starting kindergarten in Oak Park this fall are invited to celebrate the journey into a new galaxy that is not so very far away: kindergarten! 

Blast Off to Kindergarten will feature early learning programs, after-school programs, District 97 staff, school administrators and staff from Oak Park kindergarten programs, and parent teacher organizations. There will be games, community resources, and a ‘kindergarten portal’ for our future kindergarteners to pass through (with or without the accompaniment of their parents) and ‘officially’ enter the ‘kindergarten universe.’ Blast off to Kindergarten is meant to celebrate our little ones, but it also will help parents and caregivers connect to parent organizations and the ‘Solar System of Support’ that will help jump-start a smooth transition to kindergarten for everyone involved. 

“One of our goals for this event is to celebrate this exciting moment in a child’s life as they graduate from the ‘Early Learning Galaxy’ and blast off into the ‘Kindergarten Galaxy’! There are so many people who have played a part in preparing our children for this special moment, and we want to bring our community together to acknowledge and highlight that,” says Wendy Giardina, Community Engagement Coordinator at the Collaboration for Early Childhood. 

Families that arrive at the event will be directed to first stop at the ‘Collaboration Space Station’ to receive a map of the event along with an explorer card for the future kindergarteners to help them navigate this brave new world. Families are encouraged to visit all aspects of the event, including dancing to the drum performance by Kumba Kids Dance LLC, visiting the Oak Park Public Library’s Book Bike, and to decorate a thank-you postcard to the educators at their early learning programs that can be mailed in the ‘intergalactic mailbox’. Children, and parents if they would like to accompany them, are then able to go through the kindergarten portal and explore the kindergarten galaxy, which includes District 97 administrators, Oak Park kindergarten programs and parent teacher organizations. They can also take a photo at a space-themed balloon wall and strike a pose at the Bespoke Flipbooks roving photo booth. 

“When families begin kindergarten, they get to know a whole new network of parents, caregivers, teachers and administrators. We want to kick-start those connections in a super positive and fun way before the first day of school and we are honored and delighted to do that through Blast Off to Kindergarten,” says Mary Reynolds, Executive Director of the Collaboration for Early Childhood.  

Before leaving the event, families are invited to return to the ‘Collaboration Space Station’ to pick up a special souvenir. This event will take place weather-permitting, so families who plan to come are encouraged to sign up to receive any weather-related updates. 

About the Collaboration for Early Childhood 

The Collaboration for Early Childhood is a community-driven organization that cultivates the development of the whole child, birth to age five, by engaging families, local organizations, early childhood educators, caregivers, and health providers to create equitable, nurturing, and interconnected systems of support. To learn more, visit:

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