R4K (Ready for Kindergarten)

What is R4K?

R4K (Ready For Kindergarten) is a partnership between United Way of the Mohawk Valley, local schools, parents, and community organizations. R4K Family School Navigators engage local resources ensuring children start school ready to learn and continue their education fully engaged, paving the way for career and life success.

Ready to Learn. Ready for Life.

Most students who start behind, stay behind. Research shows that children who enter school ready to learn are more likely to achieve early reading proficiency by third grade, and consequently more likely to graduate high school on time. 

Growing up in an adverse family household can significantly impact a child’s school readiness. Often, these children achieve less in school, repeat grades, and drop out. As adults, they earn less and experience higher rates of delinquency and crime.

R4K is a step ladder toward scholastic achievement — improving school readiness and supporting children and parents to make a positive impact during those early years. R4K’s benefits stack up over time: students who graduate high school are more likely to find a job that pays a livable wage, lives healthier lives, stays out of the justice system, and have children who also graduate high school on time.

What is Kindergarten Readiness?

Children are ready for Kindergarten when they begin school prepared to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences that best promote their success.

Examples of Kindergarten readiness:

  • The child can get dressed, put on a coat and use the bathroom without help
  • The child talks about their thoughts and feelings
  • The child shows empathy, kindness and caring for others
  • The child adapts well to new situations
  • The child knows shapes, letters, and numbers
  • The child can hold a pencil, write their name and use scissors

R4K goes beyond early education programs — by providing a direct connection to children and families, R4K enables United Way to address the whole child: academic, emotional, physical, and social needs.

Our R4K School Partners

United Way's R4K initiative partners with ten local school districts throughout Herkimer and Oneida County to achieve its mission.

Herkimer County School Districts

Central Valley
Little Falls
Town of Webb

Oneida County School Districts

Holland Patent


Jessie’s Story – Engaging and supporting parents in their child’s early learning.

Parenting is never easy. However, parents of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) face additional challenges that make their job even more difficult. Parenting a child with ADHD can be exhausting — emotionally and physically.

Jessie was excited to begin a universal pre-kindergarten program. Her parents were concerned about how her ADHD diagnosis might impact her behavior while at school and with a possible speech problem. United Way’s R4K family school coordinator met with the family in their home and helped connect them with essential preventative services through Herkimer County. These services have helped the family establish daily routines, coordinate schedules, and implement behavior plans. Jessie has also been signed up to receive books from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

Invest in our children's future.

By supporting our community through the R4K education initiative, you are investing in our children today and the success of our next generation. Make a gift to support R4K.

United Way's R4K is funded by United Way MV and a Systems of Care grant lead by the Herkimer County Health Department.

Questions about our R4K initiative? Email Robin Robinson, Administrator of Initiatives and Grants, or call 315-733-4691, ext. 240.