Meeting Street’s Olneyville Program Readies Kids for Kindergarten
Saturday, October 13, 2012
“Children cannot learn if they can’t sit and focus,” said Andrea Riquetti-Salvatore, Director of Meeting Street’s Olneyville Early Childhood Initiative. “This program had a remarkable effect on the children’s ability to pay attention and so much more — cope with separation from their parents, recognize letters, numbers and colors, develop the dexterity to hold a pencil and write, as well as follow directions and behave in public places.
An initiative to better prepare children
This initiative was a direct result of Meeting Street’s Olneyville Early Childhood Report. The findings of the report reveal other concurrent efforts underway to determine what is needed to prepare children and their families to be ready to attend kindergarten, have a successful transition into kindergarten, and once there, succeed, and be positioned to be life-long learners.
After the six-week program, kids made incredible progress. Their kindergarten teachers expressed how important it is for children to be ready to learn, as opposed to being in need of the most fundamental learning skills.
“We’re in a hard position because often we have to fulfill a curriculum that sometimes is far from the reality of the children who start kindergarten,” says Riquetti-Salvatore, “For example, many kids struggle with simply holding a pencil in their hand. How are they supposed to be ready to write their names?”
The Readiness Program is just one aspect of the Meeting Street Early Childhood Pipeline that is being developed and piloted in the Olneyville community first. In its launch, the pipeline builds upon several existing community assets and Meeting Street partnerships. In addition, the pipeline looks to access additional local, state, federal and private resources as they become available (e.g., locating a pilot pre-K classroom in Olneyville pursuant to the Rhode Island Department of Education’s universal pre-kindergarten initiative) to extend and deepen Meeting Street's impact for all children in Olneyville.
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