News 2020: Leduc Center for Civic Engagement partners with Jumpstart for Young Children
Leduc Center for Civic Engagement partners with Jumpstart for Young Children

The student-led program will support youth language, literacy, and social-emotional development

Jumpstart - Children First

The Leduc Center at UMass Dartmouth has recently started a Jumpstart for Young Children (Jumpstart) program that will pair 30 UMass Dartmouth students as tutors and mentors with 100 Pre-K children at People Acting in Community Endeavors (PACE) Head Start in New Bedford. The program, typically delivered in person, is scheduled to begin virtually this fall.

Jumpstart—a national early education organization—believes that all children have the potential to succeed. Jumpstart’s work advances equitable learning outcomes for young children in underserved communities through a combination of high-quality programming, advocacy, and leadership.

“In the face of COVID-19 and extended out-of-school time,” said Jumpstart CEO Naila Bolus, “Jumpstart is proud to be able to partner with UMass Dartmouth to support local children and communities hit hardest by gaps in access to critical early learning opportunities.”

Teams of 5-7 Jumpstart Corps Members will spend between 200 and 300 hours during the school year with PACE Head Start, ensuring children develop key kindergarten readiness skills. Jumpstart Corps Members reduce the student-to-teacher ratio to 3:1 in every Jumpstart classroom, allowing children to receive an individualized learning experience and develop nurturing relationships with caring adults.

“I am excited that UMass Dartmouth is continuing to partner with regional organizations to strengthen the economic, cultural, and most importantly, educational aspirations of the SouthCoast,” said UMass Dartmouth Acting Chancellor Mark Preble. “With Jumpstart, our students are learning valuable skills for their future while making a difference in the lives of young children in the region.”

“Jumpstart is a great resource for PACE’s Head Start program. For many months, we have been unable to have any volunteers work with our programs due to COVID-19. This program allows these dedicated volunteers an opportunity to virtually contribute to the success of our students during this time and beyond,” said Pam Kuechler, Executive Director of PACE, Inc., a private, non-profit, community based, anti-poverty agency serving the Greater New Bedford area.

Jumpstart Corps Members receive up to sixty hours of high-quality pre-service training and ongoing coaching. In a typical year, Jumpstart’s trainings help college students develop key workforce readiness skills, such as leadership, time management, and teamwork. Trainings also focus on early education topics, such as early language development, positive classroom management, and impactful adult-child interactions, as well as successful program implementation.

Each element of Jumpstart’s program and evidence-based curriculum is intentionally designed to meet the needs of the community being served.

Jumpstart monitors a child’s progress towards kindergarten readiness throughout their participation and uses the data to continuously improve the program. On average, 90% of Jumpstart children make gains in the language and literacy skills determined to be predictors of kindergarten readiness and school success. Many Corps Members also choose to pursue a career in teaching after Jumpstart, allowing more experienced and passionate teachers to enter the field.

For students interested in Jumpstart, please contact Megan Lambert, Jumpstart Site Manager.