Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Unique Idea Helps Bring More Pre-schools to Low Income Areas
Pop-up preschools are a unique idea being launched throughout the country by the YMCA. The pre-schools are located in libraries, community centers, schools, churches, public housing, local YMCA centers, and museums.
Funded by the YMCA, which raises the money through annual fundraising campaigns, or through grants from private foundations, the pop-up preschools provide free early childhood education programs for young children in low-income families.
Many cities have more than 50,000 low income children
Many cities have tens of thousands of low income children including places that most may consider to be wealthy areas. For example, there are more than 200,000 children ages 5 and younger living in the Silicon Valley, California area, but 50,000 of them live in low-income families, according to a Urban Institute analysis in 2016. Through a pilot program there, low-income children are exposed to art, reading, science, musical instruments, blocks, math, and yes, Play-Doh. It's not just a day-care center, but it is an opportunity for low-income children to learn skills that will help them get ready for school.
Why the idea is so important
According to a U.S. Department of Education study, out of the nation’s 4 million 4-year-olds, 60 percent, or 2.5 million, are unable to access publicly funded preschool. The study found that this resulted in children from low-income families being one year behind their higher income classmates academically and developmentally by the time they start kindergarten.
The YMCA runs 104 pop-up preschools in 27 states, serving nearly 1,900 children from infancy to age 5. The success of the program can be seen in the results; children are learning more about numbers and words, and their confidence level is increasing. Not surprising, this unique program has a waiting list of eager participants.
Learn more about the YMCA pre-school program by visiting www.hechingerreport.org/pop-ups-bring-preschool-low-income-communities/