Phoenix’s Great Start Program to Aid Educational Access for Low-Income Families
In May, Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix announced the creation of Phoenix Great Start, an education initiative to help low-income families experience educational opportunities. The initiative is based on preparing young children to enter kindergarten. It was created in partnership with the Balsz School District, Phoenix educational and cultural sites, and with help from Dr. Trino Sandoval, who is an educational advisor to Mayor Stanton, current Phoenix College faculty member, and former interim director of the Raul H. Castro Institute.
The initiative included the creation of a checklist of 10 things every child should experience before they reach kindergarten, including signing up for a library card, visiting the child’s future school, as well as trips to cultural centers like the Arizona Science Center, the Heard Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum. The program also grants participants free admittance to several Phoenix museums.
Phoenix Great Start also created a guide for parents to help encourage brain development to ensure children are ready to enter school. The guide includes tips to instill self-control, language and literacy skills, thinking skills, and self-confidence at various ages leading up to entering school.
Beyond Dr. Sandoval’s involvement in the creation of the initiative, the Raul H. Castro Institute also assisted with designing the program’s brochure for families, which acts as a guide for their child’s development.