New program targets youngest students
Too many children enter kindergarten woefully underprepared. They have little access to early education, health care and other services so many families take for granted. With the help of a $10-million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning and the Miami-based Early Childhood Initiative Foundation announced this morning that they are launching Ready Schools Florida, a program that aims to help both needing children and the schools they attend. "The Ready Schools Florida model seeks to prepare both ready children and ready schools to enhance a child's healthy growth and development," foundation president David Lawrence said in a written statement. The program, which will launch in Miami-Dade County and roll out across Florida over four years, will strive to bring more tutoring, health care services and accredited early-learning centers to under-served communities. It also will focus on what happens in the classroom, providing better training for teachers and for parents, too. That includes aligning curriculum from child care through third grade, so children learn things in an order that makes sense. "What makes this all work is all of these pieces fitting together," Lawrence said in an interview, noting that schools, neighborhoods, community groups and more all must work together toward the common goal. To read the University of Florida press release, click here.