When my daughter, Faith, was a bright-eyed five year old, we weren’t really sure how she was going to do when she went to kindergarten. She had experienced some problems with her speech. We expected her to be shy and not transition very well.
At the kindergarten screening, Faith didn’t know the letter sounds and could only identify 15 uppercase and two lowercase letters. Research shows that the number of letters a child can recognize when she enters kindergarten is one of the key indicators for school readiness and academic success. We were thrilled when she was invited to join the Jump Start Program, a pre-K component of Westbrook Children’s Project.
United Way of Greater Portland supports the Westrook Children’s Project, a partnership of schools, parents, businesses, community organizations, and businesses who are united around supporting kids as they enter and go through school.
After the 5-week program, she knew nearly all of the upper and lowercase letters and could also say the sounds of 24 letters. Faith also found her voice and a new confidence. She loves to ride the bus. She has made friends. Her daily interaction with teachers and volunteers improved her speech. Finally there was something that could help her get these skills that we knew she was missing. I credit the Jump Start Program, its teachers, volunteer readers from local businesses, and the support of United Way of Greater Portland for Faith’s growth.