Friday, December 5, 2014

Jumpstart at Fordham

Fordham University is dedicated to social justice and being men and women for others. Fordham encourages all of its students to Volunteer at some point in their Fordham career. This year I joined one of Fordham’s most active community service groups called Jumpstart. Jumpstart is an organization that visits local preschools on weekly basis in order to encourage language and literacy skills in children ages 3-4. Joining jumpstart is one of the best decisions I have made here at Fordham.

This is me and my jumpstart team.

On Tuesdays and Friday my jumpstart team and I visit La Peninsula, a local preschool.  Before we head to the school, we have a team planning meeting to discuss what book we will read, and what activities we will do with the children. When we arrive at the school we separate into groups. Our first group activity is going over the letters and sounds of letters in the children’s names. After that, we read our book of the week. Reading the book is my favorite part because the children respond really well to them. They laugh and really enjoy the pictures. After books are read we come together again during circle time, where we sing songs and say poems that help develop alphabet knowledge and phonemic awareness. After circle time, the children are given an option of whether they want to go to an art, reading, writing, puzzle, or dramatic play area. All of the activities set up for the children were especially designed to support the vocabulary and content we read in the book. The last thing we do during session is sharing and goodbye. During sharing and goodbye, children are given the opportunity to share what they did during center time with the rest of the class. Of course sharing and goodbye is accompanied by the famous goodbye Jumpstart song.
While jumpstart may be a very large commitment, it is extremely rewarding. I love working with children and jumpstart has given me the ability to do just that. I am so happy to know that I am helping children learn to read. But it’s definitely a two way street, I would say I get just as much out of jumpstart sessions as they do. Watching the kids grasp a concept, or spell their name for the first time is really awesome. In addition, as if the kids weren’t enough jumpstart has fostered so many friendships for me. My team is a group of truly extraordinary people and I wouldn’t have them any other way.

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