Education Foundation Partners with St. Lucie Schools

To Introduce Structured Play to Kindergarten Classes

August 18, 2021

Education Foundation Partners With St. Lucie Schools
To Introduce Structured Play To Kindergarten Classes

Did you know: One of the most important predictors of reading proficiently by the end of third grade is starting kindergarten with the skills of a typical 5-year-old or higher.

Did you know: Play is critically important in developing the skills of a typical 5-year old. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Play also improves language and vocabulary skills, fosters social skills, enhances self-regulation skills, supports mathematics and science learning and provides health and physical benefits (National Association for the Education of Young Children).

Did you know: Due to increasingly busy schedules, children have less time to play and are more frequently being entertained by media.  

YOU CAN HELP! The goal of Play with Purpose is to equip every Kindergarten classroom in St. Lucie Public Schools with structured play kits and instructional support. We are piloting the program at White City Elementary and Windmill Point Elementary…..and boy…..are our teachers excited!  

About the Play with Purpose Program

The St. Lucie County Education Foundation in conjunction with St. Lucie Public Schools, has developed a pilot program at 2 schools and then later at the remaining 24 schools (a total of 26 schools) to create a supply of 17 custom themed kits per school at a cost of $600 per kit. Each kit contains four (4) complete sets of identical items. The entire project will cost over $265,000.

Each week a classroom will receive a unique kit for role play (4 complete sets). Every day a child joins a team and plays a new role within a theme, with roles rotating throughout the week.

Details of the Program

This is a new program for St. Lucie Public Schools. It is targeted at early intervention and is designed to enhance the early learning of Kindergarten students. Thom Jones, President of the Education Foundation states “our end goal is to make the program available at all PreK & Kindergarten classes within the next three years. Although this program is new, the school district is aware of the value of structured playful learning in the development language skills such as phonological awareness and phonics as it relates to increasing vocabulary, oral language development, and literacy. This is a time tested and universally accepted axiom.

Proposed outcomes

The vision is to support all Kindergarten students in the goal to read at grade level as soon as possible. One of the most important indicators of graduating from high school is reading proficiently by the end of the third grade.

How You Can Help

Ongoing financial support will come from the Education Foundation, grants and donations. This program qualifies for the State Matching Grant that provides a dollar for dollar match when funds are raised from individuals and businesses. This allows the Education Foundation to double every dollar donated for this program. Mr. Jones hopes to introduce the program to Pre-K classes in the future.

To make a donation or learn how to sponsor a kit, please contact Thom Jones, President at 772-429-5507 or visit