Jumpstart Volunteers Help Build Literacy Skills at Estrada Courts Public Housing

Six Jumpstart Foster Grandparent volunteers are the newest addition to the Housing Authority’s tool in helping youth attain 3rd grade reading proficiency at Estrada Learning Center. According to State test results, many of our youth are not meeting the third grade reading standard. For example, only 29% of the students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds attending Christopher Dena Elementary School near Estrada Courts public housing are meeting the standard for third grade English-Language Arts.

A partnership with Jumpstart, a national non-profit early childhood education organization, is providing extra resources to 26 youth ages 3-5 at the Estrada Learning Center. Jumpstart is focused on preparing children with the skills that will help them succeed in kindergarten and beyond, focusing on children in low-income communities. Children from the low-income communities are as much as 60% behind their more affluent peers by the time they enter kindergarten. Jumpstart’s mission is to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.

On October 8, 2013, six Jumpstart Foster Grandparents started their volunteer session at the Estrada Learning Center run by International Institute of Los Angeles. The volunteers participated in a 6 week intensive training before being assigned to the preschool and attend monthly trainings to continue to build their skills. Foster Grandparent volunteers are assigned to serve the Estrada Learning Center Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. The Jumpstart curriculum-based session occurs twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am to 11:05 am. This program is scheduled to run through May 2014.

“Jumpstart’s program has introduced children to new books, which has encouraged children’s interest in literacy activities,” says Gabriela Jimenez, one of the teachers at Estrada Learning Center.

Each Foster Grandparent is assigned to a small group of children focusing on developing their language and literacy skills through various cognitive and recreational activities such as reading sessions, arts and crafts activities. Individualized attention provided to these children helps them cultivate their social skills, achieve kindergarten readiness and develop a passion for learning.

In partnership with the Forster Grandparent Program, Jumpstart recruits and fully trains volunteers 55 years old and older. Jumpstart trains caring adult volunteers to implement language and literacy rich supplemental curriculum-based sessions in preschool classrooms for an entire school year.

We thank our volunteers and look forward to a wonderful year.

“The Jumpstart team provides learning centers which encourage children to participate and engage in letter recognition activities,” explained Julio Palacios, a teacher at Estrada Leaning Center.

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