Something special is happening at Goodyear Elementary School over the next few weeks.
A group of around 25 students who otherwise might have not had the chance are getting their first taste of school at the Jumpstart program.
These aren’t Jumpstart future kindergartners who have been in a preschool program for the last several years, learning what the structure of a school day is and getting a jump on reading and writing skills.
Instead, the program targets children who have not had the chance to see preschool on a regular basis. The idea is that if they get even a few weeks worth of school prior to kindergarten, they will not start behind their peers.
This program is sure to make a major difference in the lives of the children it serves.
The program’s assistant principal, Kalee Gunter, has seen the impact Jumpstart can have in just its first two years of existence in Glynn County.
“We had kids who came in that couldn’t even recognize their name, and they were writing their name as clear as I could by the end of the program,” she told The News last week.
Perhaps more importantly though, is the socialization aspect of the program. It is a big change for all children when they enter kindergarten, but for a child without a preschool history, the change is even more drastic.
“We’re teaching kids to self regulate, which is teaching them how to calm themselves — if they get frustrated, if they get sad, if they get lonely, if they start to miss mom,” Gunter said.
But with just three and a half weeks of being in a classroom, these students will no longer suffer through a transition into kindergarten, They will thrive in it instead.
“We’re very aware of the fact that kindergarten and their first experiences with school kind of set the tone for how they’re going to feel about school for their entire school career,” Gunter said.
So from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. several days a week, teachers work with these children on everything from reading and writing, learning numbers and socialization skills. They even get help from the local Reading Rockets group who comes and reads to the children three times a week.
We hope the Jumpstart program continues every summer and that it grows. The importance of getting students ready for kindergarten cannot be overestimated. If more students are starting their school careers on the right foot, it could translate into better graduation rates, better grades overall and more students seeking work and college after high school.
Jumpstart is a great way to work toward that end.