Preschoolers Jump Start Literacy
Dickens isn't the only one who has been affected by Jumpstart. It shapes the future for kids ages three to five who are struggling with their literacy skills.
"Children are screened on their language and literacy skills and if they can benefit from one-to-one attention from a caring adult then we will match that child with a college student as a tutor," Jumpstart director Chrissie Bennett said.
Jumpstart tutors and students work in the program's own classroom, which is the only one of its kind in the state. Once the kids are done with their morning preschool at West Boulevard, they walk down a short path to the Jumpstart classroom. It is literally in the school's backyard.
"It's so beneficial to have our own quiet area where we have no distractions," Dickens said.
It is beneficial to parents, too. Public preschools like West Boulevard only provide a half-day of school, but Jumpstart offers full time care for young kids.
"So what this affords them is a full day of childcare, so ideally my child would get on a bus in the morning, be dropped off then come back," Dickens said.
Jumpstart has been at West Boulevard for almost two years.
"The kids that I have seen that have had the Jumpstart opportunity definitely have made gains in their language skills," West Boulevard teacher Fran Grant said.
"They see a young adult who has went through school and is now going to college and they're having a relationship with that young adult and so to me that is showing children that school is cool," Dickens said.
To learn more about Jumstart in Columbia contact director Chrissie Bennett at the MU Career Center (email@example.com) at (573) 882-8942.