Three family literacy preschools operated by Mt. Diablo Adult Education are helping children to start kindergarten better prepared.
The program provides high-quality preschool for children while their parents take ESL (English as a Second Language) classes adjacent to the preschool.
Once a week, parents join their children to practice reading in English and to engage in fun learning activities together. The parents are also instructed to do literacy activities with their children at home, such as taking them to the library or reading and telling stories together.
Before we started funding the program eight years ago, children used to only receive babysitting services. With our annual $100,000 grant, children who otherwise wouldn't attend preschool are getting high-quality instruction in preschool and quality early learning at home. And they're gaining important school readiness skills as a result.
According to Alejandra Frank, a teacher at literacy preschool at Cambridge Elementary school, "From our program, the children learn how to behave in the classroom and to follow routines and directions. This preschool is probably the only experience our children will have with preschool. When they go to kindergarten, they are ready."
Last year, the preschools served 157 children. Most of the children lived in very low-income families; 40% of the families earned less than $15,000.
Evaluation of the program, which included assessments in the fall and spring, showed that children's school readiness skills improved in the following areas: self-care and motor skills, self-regulation skills (e.g., pays attention, participates in circle time), social expression skills (e.g., has curiosity for learning, expresses empathy), and kindergarten academics (e.g., recognizes letters of the alphabet, shapes, and basic colors):
In addition, children whose parents were more engaged while reading together, such as asking questions, scored the highest in terms of overall school readiness.
To learn more, call Paige Endo at (925) 685-7340 ext. #2765.