by Lucy Stelzner, Family Resource Coordinator
The families shuffle in slowly at first and then in quick bursts of energy, chatter and anticipation. The food table begins to look fuller, as more parents drop off their contribution to the potluck for the final night of our Family Youth and Childcare Center’s Jumpstart program. The children bounce about the room, feeding off the excitement of their mothers and siblings waiting for the night to begin.
While this is similar to many of the nights that our parent programs take place, tonight is special because it is our final session in the Jumpstart Early Literacy series, a parent-child interactive program. The Jumpstart program model seeks to improve the literacy skills of children and their caregivers so that children are better equipped to succeed when entering school. We have been working with Jumpstart since September 2010 to coordinate this first seven session series to provide parents with the tools to improve the literacy of their children, as well as create a safe space for parents to interact with their kids in a positive learning environment.
Each session in the Jumpstart series covers a different literacy topic, such as vocabulary development, phonological awareness and early reading. Matched with each lesson is a different, fun activity where kids can interact with their parents and learn about reading and writing at home or in school. For example, in our beginning writing class each family member created a laminated placemat that could provide continued learning with a take-home dry erase marker. In total Glide’s first Jumpstart series served 52 people over the seven sessions, 37 of whom were children and 15 were caregivers. We will continue to offer this important literacy series in upcoming months. Our next workshop series will be taught in Cantonese with residents of Glide’s 125 Mason House.
For our final session, each family created a photo ABC book and received a certificate for their participation in the series. Families posed and smiled as each moment was captured by staff with cameras. As the last families of the night gathered their things and left the building, leftover was a sense of awe and wonderment that only children can create.