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'Ready Freddy' Brings Kindness to Kindergarten

University of Pittsburgh

Today is the first day of kindergarten for many Pittsburgh area students. They will be welcomed this year by the “Ready Freddy” green frog mascot as part of the program developed by the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development to make the first day easier for the little ones.

Ken Smythe-Leistico is the assistant director of Pitt’s Office of Child Development. He says that many children have anxieties about transitioning into kindergarten.

“You leave that past life as you know it and all those comforts that you had...and you’re navigating all these elements at five years old,” he says.

Smythe-Leistico says Ready Freddy is designed to both remove some of those anxieties and get kids excited about their first day.

“What we’ve seen is that kindergarten enrollment has gone up 11%, and what we’ve also seen are large increases in first day attendance,” he says.

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