Jumpstart

by on October 14, 2012

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I was nearly kicked out of preschool. Some kid bit me, and I responded by biting other kids. I’m not sure what my mom said, but she convinced the school to let me stay. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but it may have been a very important moment in my life. Early education has a huge effect on educational outcomes, so there’s a decent chance that the negative effects of not going to preschool would have followed me through the rest of my life. That’s the kind of problem that many children from low-income families encounter–though it’s because they never even got to go to preschool not because they got kicked out. Jumpstart is attacking this problem head on–they are “the only national supplemental program that leverages the power of community and adult-child relationships to build the key language and literacy skills children need to take on the world.” They’re based in Boston, MA and working in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, California, Florida, and Washington.

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There’s no doubt that there is an early education crisis. Children from low-income neighborhoods “start kindergarten 60% behind their peers from affluent communities.” This isn’t just a school thing–“by age four, the average child in a professional family hears about 20 million more words than the average child in a working-class family, and about 35 million more words than children in low-income families.” How do you do something about that? Jumpstart attacks this problem by recruiting and training “college students and community Corps members to serve preschool children” and focus on language and literacy skills. You can read more on Jumpstart’s work and how they’ve already had significant impact in their communities. If you’d like to help the organization continue to work towards solving the early education crisis, check out their Careers page. Right now they’re looking for a paid Special Project Intern in San Francisco, CA. I’m sure other opportunities will come up periodically (likely in Boston), so keep your on Jumpstart for other positions.

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