YMCA Summer Transition Program Focuses on School Readiness and Tackles the Achievement Gap

Students in Liliana Trujillos’s classroom at Chattahoochee Early Learning Center are ready to excel this school year, thanks to the Bright from the Start Rising Pre-K Summer Transition Program at the Y.

Rising Pre-K, which offers high-quality early learning instruction with a focus on language, literacy and math, is a six-week intensive academic program that operates during June and July. The program targets students who are eligible to attend Georgia Pre-K or a Head Start program in the fall, and whose home language is Spanish.

According to Voices for Georgia’s Children, Spanish-speaking dual language learners are less likely than their peers to demonstrate school readiness skills, particularly in literacy. Dual language learners are also less likely to enroll in early learning programs than their peers. The summer transition program prepares dual language learners for Pre-K, helps children become more comfortable with school routines and addresses the achievement gap.

“It’s a way to immerse the students’ home language into the school setting before they start Pre-K,” said Trujillos.

An important component of the Rising Pre-K program is that at least one teacher must be bilingual — fluent in Spanish and English. Having bilingual staff facilitates the strategic use of the home language to support dual language students’ early language and literacy development in English.

Trujillos added that the home language for a child is just as important as English.

“We immerse the culture and language into the classroom, and the children are very excited to know that they can speak their home language here.”

For more information on our YMCA early learning programs, visit www.ymcaatlanta.org/early-learning.

By Erica K. Faulkner
Director of Content and Social Media