Mission: Jumpstart is working toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed.
Geographic areas served: United States
Programs: See schedule o:jumpstart offers a unique, results-driven and research-based program to enhance the educational opportunities for preschool children in low-income neighborhoods. The jumpstart curriculum is carefully designed to provide strategies for our corps members to maximize the time they spend with children, and targets specific language and literacy skills that are most important to a child's future academic success. School success: jumpstart sessions take place two days per week, for two hours each time. Corps members and children read core storybooks and participate in targeted and intentional activities based on these stories. Each session revolves around a core storybook and one book serves as the focus for two sessions. Session plans are organized in six unit themes: family, friends, wind and water, the world of color, shadows and reflections, and things that grow and use the following routine:welcome: children transition to jumpstart from their previous activity. Children build alphabet knowledge through exploration of name cards and over time develop an understanding of meaning and use of print. Reading: children and corps members engage in a shared reading experience. Corps members use a variety of strategies to engage children in the story, highlight key vocabulary, and check for comprehension of the text. Circle time: children participate by singing songs, playing word and letter games, and reading poems. The whole-group learning experience builds a sense of community among children and adults. Center time: centers are set up with materials and activities that support childrens language and literacy skill development. Activities are inspired by the unit theme and core storybook, deepening childrens understanding of the book and providing opportunities to use story vocabulary. Let's find out about it: a small group activity designed to build children's concept knowledge and vocabulary. Here, children have the opportunity to explore new ideas and information, learn about objects and their use, and understand how things work. Sharing & goodbye: children talk and listen to others share their favorite session activities in a large group setting. Corps members use objects or examples of children's work from center time and rich vocabulary to support the conversation. Future teachers: jumpstart develops future teachers and leaders by increasing corps members' early childhood knowledge and community awareness. Corps members receive 30 hours of training before entering the classroom and up to 60 hours during their year of service. During this training, corps members participate in hands-on activities that deepen their understanding of developmentally appropriate practice, children's language and literacy development, active learning, classroom management, and family involvement. Corps members learn how to deliver jumpstart's curriculum during trainings that focus on jumpstart's target domains and skills, implementing the jumpstart routine, and understanding and using jumpstart's reading strategies. In addition, corps members continue building and strengthening their skills to implement jumpstart sessions through application and practical learning during in-service trainings held throughout the year. Family involvement: jumpstart recognizes that families are children's first and most important teachers. We seek to engage families as partners in supporting their children's school success and provide opportunities to extend learning into the home whenever possible. Corps members form relationships that build trust with families through ongoing, consistent communication. This communication happens face to face when corps members meet family members at early childhood centers, as well as through formal, written communication at least once per month. Jumpstart also strives to build connections between the jumpstart session and children's learning at home. Jumpstart provides the family involvement calendar and take-home activities included in family newsletters to support this connection.
Jumpstart is an extremely well managed organization that is focused on delivering real results for kids. As a donor, I've always had confidence that my dollars are supporting effective programming and that they are helping to maintain a high performing, healthy organization.
I volunteered with Jumpstart for my Freshman year of college and they've impressed me with their commitment to their mission, their organization, and the quality of people they staff. I have had an intense experience making a difference in young children's lives with tremendous support from other volunteers. Jumpstart gave me the training to effectively nourish early literacy and language skills with up-to-date, research-backed childhood development theory, with specific plans for educating and conversing with children between the ages of 3 and 5. On Site Mangers have offered valuable and effective support whenever needed, for things like difficulties in the classroom and planning effectively for sessions with the children. A criticism I have is that more observation and feedback sessions would be helpful, but I know time is stretched thin between all of the different teams we have working.
I have been with Jumpstart in Philadelphia for a year and a half as a volunteer. As a future teacher, this great experience has helped me learn a great deal about myself and how to interact with children ages 4-5. This experience also helped me to connect with the teachers and assistant teachers at the school where I am stationed at. At the end of last year, I was and still am proud to know that the child I have been partnered with made it into Kindergarten. I love this program because it gave me great experience in working with children and helping out in the classroom.
Jumpstart was one of the most influential experiences of my college career. The program opened my eyes to the importance of Early Childhood Education and helped me realize my personal values towards eliminating the achievement gap. I have had three different roles at Jumpstart- CM, VC, and VISTA-- and I have learned so much from each opportunity. During my year as a CM, I was able to work at a preschool in a low-income neighborhood and witness the barriers that young children face in those neighborhoods. I witnessed the power that the Jumpstart curriculum has over children-- not only does the curriculum help teach children basic literacy skills, it allows children to develop their own intrinsic motivation for learning so they succeed beyond their time with Jumpstart. As a VC, I had the opportunity to develop volunteer projects and provide key support in helping Jumpstart CMs prepare for session. Although I had some regrets not being able to work with a child every week, I could still make an impact in a child's life by inspiring others to volunteer with Jumpstart-- and in fact reach more children than if I had been a CM.
My experience with Jumpstart has been absolutely life changing. I know that part of the reason why I have decided to go into Higher Education and Student Affairs is so that I can help college students develop into people that want to make a difference in their community and who will act as advocates and role models for future generations.