Jumpstart For Young Children, Inc.
Jumpstart provides high quality early education programming to preschools in low-income communities throughout Los Angeles, working towards the day every child, regardless of his or her zip code, enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.
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2 Submitted Ideas
- LEARN ·2015 Grants Challenge
Jumpstart recruits and trains college students and older adults (ages 55+) to implement a data-driven preschool curriculum in low-income communities, helping children circumvent the achievement gap by ensuring that they build the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills most vital to school success. Jumpstart seeks to expand our program, particularly in South LA and East LA, to continue fostering intergenerational learning and improving the academic outcomes of low-income children.
- 2013 Grants Challenge
Over 20,000 Angelinos enter the modern economy every year without a high school degree. It is simply unacceptable that in a city as wealthy and vibrant as ours, countless children go their entire lives without receiving an adequate education. It’s not just that they are not reaching their potential; they are not even coming close. As a community, we are failing these children. Think that’s scary? Now consider this. Many children are already so far behind by the age of five (no, that’s not a typo), that they are unlikely ever to catch up. This is nothing less than a catastrophe. Children whose parents have a low-income begin kindergarten up to 60% behind their more affluent peers – and 74% of the LAUSD student body is economically disadvantaged. The only silver lining in this heartbreaking story is that we have already discovered the most impactful, cost-effective solution to this problem devastating our city. The answer is high-quality early education. Investments in high-quality early education transform lives and yield extraordinary social returns. This has been validated by extensive academic research and highlighted by leading policymakers. For example, according to the seminal High/Scope Perry Preschool Study, children who participate in high-quality early education programs are more likely to read at grade level, thrive in school, and graduate than those who do not. They are also less likely to become involved with the justice system or need special instruction, which means that, according to University of Chicago economist and Nobel Laureate, James Heckman, every dollar invested in early childhood education produces a 10% annual return for the life of the child. During his February 13 State of the Union Address, President Obama cited such studies to underscore the powerful impact of investments in high-quality early education. There are two major problems when it comes to early education in Los Angeles: access and quality. Later in this proposal we discuss how we think that, together with the Goldhirsh Foundation, we can generate the political will to advance the issue of access for all children. But universal access is not enough. Most children who attend preschool and whose parents have a low-income attend either federally-funded Head Start preschools or state-funded preschools that are under-resourced, and as a result have a lower level of quality. They have high child-to-adult ratios and do not have as many books and learning resources as they should. In addition, low salaries compel many excellent preschool teachers to leave the profession to pursue careers that offer a living wage. Our focus is on these children, who are in preschool, but need additional support to have experiences comparable to those that middle-class and affluent kids have. These children cannot wait for universal access; they need a first-class education today. Jumpstart is a remarkable public-private partnership that leverages the resources of government agencies, LA’s leading foundations, cutting-edge corporations, universities, and preschools to provide high-quality early education to children and families who need it most – and it only costs $2,000 per child. Jumpstart’s proposal is to implement one semester of the Jumpstart program in five Los Angeles preschool classrooms. Here’s how it works. Step 1: We identify preschools that serve children whose parents have low-incomes because we know that family income is a leading indicator of children’s readiness for kindergarten. The lower your family’s income, the less likely you will be ready for school. Furthermore, children whose parents have a low-income are more likely to attend schools that are ill-equipped to meet their needs. Step 2: We collaborate with nearby universities. Why universities? Because universities have motivated, passionate students who have the capacity to give back. Step 3: We train our college-student volunteers – nearly 400 of them in LA County and 78 at UCLA – to implement Jumpstart’s highly intentional, research-based program. Jumpstart’s curriculum, which reflects best practices in early childhood education and has been informed by 20 years of experience – is targeted to develop the language, literacy, and social skills that children need to begin kindergarten prepared to succeed. What else do we need besides a proven curriculum and talented adults with the time and motivation to help children? Step 4: Money! It’s always time and money, isn’t it? Through partnerships with AmeriCorps and the Federal Work Study program, we pay a significant portion of our program costs with dollars that have already been allocated to support college students – and we maximize those public investments by putting them where they can have the greatest impact: high-quality early education. Want to know the best part? Our program works. Children who receive the Jumpstart program have outperformed a comparison group for 10 years.