|Jumpstart Program Connects
Students with Preschoolers
Cal State Fullerton students are helping to boost literacy in preschools through the Jumpstart Fullerton Program.
December 15, 2005
University and preschool students are learning
from each other in the Jumpstart Fullerton Program.
program puts Cal State Fullerton students into several different
Head Start classrooms in north Orange County. The focus for
preschoolers is boosting literacy, and the benefits for the
volunteer university students encompass a range of experiences,
from classroom management to one-on-one teaching skills.
is a collaboration between the Child
and Adolescent Studies Department, Western Regional Jumpstart and Orange County’s
Head Start programs, as well as AmeriCorps, which compensates
the approximately 50 university students participating in
the program annually.
AmeriCorps has awarded grants amounting
to more than $195,000 to the campus in support of the program.
CSUF student is assigned to one “partner” child — a
4-year-old at risk for kindergarten success — in a
Head Start classroom for a year. Participation includes enrollment
in one of two attendant university courses taught in the
fall by Shu-Chen J. Yen, assistant professor of child and
adolescent studies, and 300 hours of community service and
Head Start classroom time.
Each volunteer receives a $1,000
AmeriCorps stipend at the end of the program.
director of the Center for Internships and Service-Learning,
brought the national program to the university in 2003, and
Child and Adolescent Studies, chaired by Patricia A. Szeszulski,
serves as program host. Shanda Barnett is Jumpstart coordinator.
our primary focus is on emergent literacy skills, we support
the children’s development in all areas,” says
Susan G. Shipstead, lecturer in child and adolescent studies
who teaches the two attendant courses in spring. “During
each visit, our students read to their target children, using strategies to enhance
language development and pre-reading skills.”
The volunteers also are involved
in the routine activities within the classroom as they partner with the preschool
“They learn about well- researched, early childhood
curriculum and how to use a wide range of developmentally
appropriate ‘key experiences’ to
observe children, support growth and plan activities,” says Shipstead.
also prepare and teach lesson plans two times a week and focus on exercises
that would enhance their language and literacy,” added Jumpstart
volunteer Tarrah Macavinta, who received her degree in child and adolescent
development in June and is now pursuing a second degree in nursing.
program provided a lot of work besides service — like paperwork
and organizing lesson plans — and on top of that, I was taking
19 units, so I also learned how to be more organized and manage my time.”
will recruit volunteers for the 2006-07 school year in spring, says
Kim-Han, who noted that the program is designed to quantify
a very specific curriculum that’s implemented and a heavy evaluation
component because we want to monitor and evaluate the progress of these
children as a result of this intervention.”
‘While our primary focus is
on emergent literacy skills, we support the children’s
development in all areas.’
The program has received funding from other benefactors
in addition to AmeriCorps, including: a donation of nearly
$12,000-worth of classroom supplies from alumna and early
childhood advocate Susan Villascas; $3,000 from Target; $3,000
from Best Buy for Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities;
support from Starbucks Coffee by hosting family literacy
nights; Jumpstart-emblazoned T-shirts and sweatshirts provided
by American Eagle Outfitters; and Jumpstart curriculum manuals
from Pearson Publishing.
“I interact with children much differently now than when
I first started the program. I’m much more aware of what
types of questions to ask and what activities are developmentally
appropriate to stimulate progress,” says Andrea Caplis,
a child and adolescent development major. “The thought
of being responsible for teaching a classroom and leading
three other team members seemed overwhelming. Now looking
back at the experience, I think it was just a matter of rising
to the occasion.”
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