'Great Start' early childhood education initiative launches
Last week I proudly announced Great Start, an education initiative home-grown from my office and my hard-working team, including my senior policy adviser on education, Dr. Trino Sandoval. We created Phoenix Great Start, in partnership with Balsz School District and Phoenix educational and cultural sites, to help low-income kids and their families experience educational opportunities at no cost to prepare young children for kindergarten.
The program is two-pronged:
1) Guide for Parents
The Phoenix Great Start Program will give parents a guide to early brain development and the importance of kindergarten readiness. The guide focuses on the first three years of a child’s life with an emphasis on Language and Literacy, Thinking Skills and Self-Control and Self-Confidence. It also includes a list of skills from teachers and child-development experts that a new kindergartner should master before starting school.
2) Passport to Culture & Education
The second component outlines a list of 10 things every child should experience before starting kindergarten in the Balsz Elementary School District. The list of activities includes a free pass for the family of the kindergartner to Phoenix’s best museums and educational attractions.
This pilot program will be available to families enrolling their kindergarten student in Balsz Elementary School District through Summer 2013. We plan on expanding the program after this first successful year.
Participating program partners include:
The Urban Child Institute
Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College
Arizona Science Center
Phoenix Art Museum
Pueblo Grande Museum
Balsz School District
Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Maricopa County Community Colleges
City of Phoenix
Japanese Friendship Garden
Southwest Human Development