THE GOSHEN NEWS
The new early childhood education program set to start at Prairie View Elementary School could be a life-long boost for many of Goshen’s youngest low-income residents.
The program will be funded with Title 1 money. That money comes from the federal government and is used to promote reading and other education initiatives for the most at-risk children in our society, those without adequate family resources.
This project will be a first for Goshen Community Schools. To date, the Goshen community has been served by private and church-sponsored preschools, which seem to do a good job of getting their young students ready for kindergarten. But there is a cost to send a child to these preschools and many families in our community lack those funds, or have decided the financial sacrifice is too great to overcome. So many Goshen-area youngsters never attend preschool.
We think preschool, especially if it is sponsored by the school district where educational efforts can be coordinated with kindergarten teachers, is invaluable in preparing children for school. Children are taught the basics of math, the alphabet and the techniques needed to absorb information. And, in this new setting, the instructors will be able to make a long-term assessment of where students stand before they enter kindergarten and provide that information to kindergarten teachers, who can then target each child with the specific help they need.
And just as important as assessing and teaching the child is the new program’s promise of reaching out to parents. Parents are the most important people in the education process. If young parents can be embraced and drawn into their child’s education at the initial stage, then it’s more likely that involvement will continue throughout the child’s school life.
One other of the program’s goals also is promising, that being the goal to build a network of support for the education of young children within the Goshen community. Ideally this will include networking all the local preschools to coordinate education efforts; to have mentors, not only for students but also parents, especially young, single mothers; and to continually reach out to the business community to seek support for supplies and learning opportunities so we can build a long-term high standard for education in Goshen.
While some people may consider this new program as simply a preschool where parents can drop off their kids for a few hours, that is a very inaccurate conclusion. This program is designed to gather at-risk youngsters together to prepare them for a lifetime of achievement. And to reach that goal, the greater Goshen community has to get behind this concept and support it.