Beginning on March 3, Adventure Works will offer a nature-based Kindergarten readiness program known as Little Adventurers. This program is currently open for enrollment, serving children ages 4-5 years old, from 8:30 am - 11 pm on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The program will be offered at Adventure Works, located at 1211 Sycamore Road. in DeKalb, Illinois. Parents can register by calling 815-517-0825. The rate for the program is $30/day and financial assistance may be available based on a sliding fee scale. Little Adventurers is accredited by the Association of Experiential Education (AEE) and centers around a curriculum that utilizes nature play and exploration to build social skills, emotional awareness and regulation, as well as the foundation of environmental awareness and accountability. Little Adventurers was featured on WNIJ in late November of 2019, and it was recognized that “[t]hey’re having fun and exploring, yes, but it’s also an accredited nature-based kindergarten readiness program.” The Little Adventurers Program utilizes a newly redesigned outdoor area called, YEP! Free Play Space. This space is named after the group, Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP), who provided grant funding to support this initiative. YEP is in its 11th year as a youth-led committee of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. Why Kindergarten Readiness? Adventure Works is committed to serving youth of all ages and recognizes the importance of early intervention for social-emotional learning, a growing need in DeKalb County. A local 2017 study advised, “the span from birth to age five is a unique time in a child’s life and can positively or negatively impact the ability to be ready for kindergarten and to succeed in life.” The study then concluded, “Unfortunately, children in DeKalb County who are in this age category are experiencing increasingly adverse experiences: larger numbers of children living in poverty and homelessness, fewer children with health insurance, less capacity for child care in early care and education programs, and considerable mobility among families, all of which have been identified as negatively impacting kindergarten readiness and success in life.” The DeKalb County Community Foundation partnered with Northern Illinois University’s P-20 Center and the Center for Governmental Studies to research, define, and measure the kindergarten readiness of DeKalb County’s children.