Very soon, the Decatur County Family YMCA will start preparing for the Pilot Preschool Education Program for Low Income Families starting in the fall of 2013.
This initiative was selected as a high priority during the 2012 Decatur County United Fund Campaign. Matching dollars pledged and collected from Duke Energy Foundation supported the entire cost of the initiative for $11,556.
The United Fund and Duke Energy Foundation place great emphasis on educational programming. “Duke Energy is pleased to partner with the United Fund to provide money that will help our youth prepare for kindergarden”, says Cathy Wenning, Duke Energy District Manager.
As with any school or educational based programs, the need for school supplies is critical. The Decatur County United Fund was fortunate to receive an abundance of school items from an anonymous donor. The supplies include backpacks, pencils, crayons, erasers, glue, scissors, sharpeners, notebooks, and Kleenex. Joane Cunningham, Executive Director of Decatur County United Fund, noted, “We are very happy to make this gift of school supplies available for such an important project in our community. The YMCA is a quality organization that will utilize the school supplies to the fullest.”
This program is to serve more disadvantaged children ages four to five to attend preschool for free. Fifteen children from low income families will participate in the new Decatur County Family YMCA preschool program for three days a week.
The children will learn how to count, learn abc’s, colors, shapes, reading readiness, arts & crafts, physical education, swimming and more. The children will participate in a structured, curriculum based program for two and half hours a day for three days a week for the school year. Children will take a pre-test and a post-test to chart their progress; and will receive a snack and a drink each day. Transportation to and from the program will be provided. Cunningham noted, “It is proven that children that attend preschool do better in school and are more likely to complete high school, graduate on time from high school and attend a four year college.”
The program will run from Aug. 1, 2013 to May 28, 2014 and will follow the Greensburg Community School Corporation schedule.
The program will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. throughout the school year. Two teachers will serve the 15 students. A snack and drink will be provided daily.
Collaboration partners will include Head Start, the Greensburg/Decatur Co. Public Library and Greensburg Community School Corporation.
Together, with Head Start, eligible low income children will be identified. The plan includes having the library come to the program weekly to do reading and storytelling with the children. With the help of Greensburg Community School Corporation (Kindergarten teachers and the Director of Curriculum of the Corporation) the YMCA will develop what is expected of a kindergartner to make sure the students are prepared for kindergarten.
Diane Hart-Dawson of Decatur County Family YMCA shared, “Children will be afforded the opportunity to attend a high quality preschool program free of charge. Our goal is to increase academic achievement, decrease negative or deviant behavior and increase knowledge of physical, social and creative activities. The program will also enhance character development values such as honesty, respect, responsibility and caring. As a YMCA program we will continue to improve physical skills, abilities and general health.”
For additional information about the preschool program for low income families, contact the YMCA at 663-9622.
— Daily News