Campus: CSU Northridge -- April 26, 2002

Grant Provides Money for CSUN Students To Work with Preschoolers

Cal State Northridge has received $25,000 to start a new program in which university students will work with at-risk preschoolers to improve their school readiness.

California's Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism has tentatively approved an additional $57,000 in AmeriCorps funding to help finance the program. The initial money, in the form of a challenge grant, comes from Jumpstart, a non-profit organization that urges college students to work with young children in an effort to prepare them for success in school.

"Jumpstart is an innovative and exciting new service-learning model for CSUN students, " said Maureen Rubin, director of the university's Center for Community Service-Learning. "It will allow our students to earn academic credit and gain valuable career experience while performing meaningful service that will help kids in our community begin their education on the right track."
Starting next fall, 40 Northridge work-study students will be able to enroll in two experimental child development classes taught by Senta Green, a nationally recognized child development expert. The courses will focus on their in-class curriculum on the child in the educational setting and on families and community resources.

In addition to their in-class work, the students will earn their work-study awards, a form of financial aid, by serving 300 hours in one of four local childcare sites in the San Fernando Valley serving high-risk populations of preschoolers. Upon completion of their required hours, each student will receive an additional AmeriCorps Education Award of approximately $1,000.
Rubin said Jumpstart's literature states that now, more than ever before in the nation's history, children are entering schools lacking basic school readiness skills - communication, language and literacy and social skills.

She pointed out that a recent study by the Carnegie Foundation said teachers reported that 35 percent of American kindergarten children arrive at school unprepared to learn.

"These statistics are even more alarming for children from low-income families, where over 50 percent of children start first grade up to two years behind their peers in preschool skills," Rubin said. "Since these early inequalities persist and increase with time, a child's performance in preschool is directly linked to success later."

Launched in 1998, CSUN's Center for Community-Service Learning aims to inspire, encourage and support students and faculty in their pursuit of academic excellence through involvement in meaningful community service.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu


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