Target: Camille Maben, Executive Director of First 5 California Commission
Goal: Applaud implementation of free summer kindergarten “boot camp”
At summer bridge programs all over California, children with no preschool experience learn essential development skills like how to raise a hand to answer a question or ask for help, wait their turn, play cooperatively with others, and get used to being away from home and family. Please commend First 5 county commissions’ free kindergarten “boot camp” that provides children with the social and academic skills necessary for entering grade school.
There is a shortage of publicly funded preschool programs, which means that not every child is eligible for spots at state preschools or the Head Start program before they enter kindergarten. The summer bridge program is a free alternative to the costly tuitions of private preschools, which many middle-class families cannot afford. In a study conducted in 2012 at five participating elementary schools in California, the program indicated significant academic improvement in reading, math, and social skills according to before-and-after tests.
Research indicates that children with no preschool education struggle socially and academically and enter kindergarten behind their peers who have preschool experience, which is why the First 5 county-based summer programs are so essential for children. Please voice your support of these free summer bridge programs that make essential skills taught in preschool available to children.
Dear Executive Director of First 5 California Commission Camille Maben,
I would like to thank First 5 California for funding the summer bridge programs that teach children the necessary social and academic skills for success upon enrollment in kindergarten. With the shortage of affordable preschool education, the First 5 summer bridge programs provide an alternative to children who are ineligible for state-funded preschools, the Head Start program, or whose families cannot afford the often expensive tuition of private preschools.
The success of the summer preschool program can be found all over California. A 2011 survey found that out of the state’s 58 counties, 35 had kindergarten “boot camps” implemented at local elementary schools. Research shows that without early education, children show up to kindergarten already behind. They miss out on learning the basic skills that the summer bridge programs teach, like how to raise a hand to ask for help or a question, play cooperatively with others, acclimate themselves to time spent away from family, and wait patiently for their turn. Children also benefit from the typical preschool class size ratio of eight children to one teacher, compared to that of a kindergarten class, which can be up to 32 children per teacher.
The First 5 funded summer bridge programs will hopefully expand to all of California and beyond, since a study done last summer proved that of the 828 participants who participated in the selected programs, all showed improvement in math, reading, and social skills in kindergarten. Please continue your work to ensure that every child is prepared for kindergarten.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: barnabywasson via Flickr