Literacy

Creating a lifelong love of learning starts with building a foundation in literacy. Research shows that students unable to read proficiently by third grade are eighty-eight percent more likely to drop out of high school.  That number only increases when those children live in poverty. Statistics also tell us that the school-to-prison pipeline results when children are pushed out of the classroom instead of being allowed to catch-up with their classmates.

United Methodist Children’s Centers can flip the script, starting at the beginning, by fostering the ability to read and write. Literacy is fundamental to all aspects of learning. The program’s vision is that all students of the TAC will be kindergarten ready and able to read at the third grade level.  Churches in the TAC often sit empty throughout the week. Instead of allowing their classrooms and meeting areas to go unused, We Love All God’s Children transforms the campus into a preschool, offered at reduced tuition and with scholarships.

With the initiative, after school mentoring programs are developed and churches prepared to host literacy programs throughout the week, as well as annual back-to-school backpack drives. Partnerships are built between churches and neighboring elementary schools. Volunteers in the congregation are also able to join the effort, changing the future of each child by offering them individual attention, tutoring and mentoring.

Resources:

Early Head Start/Head Start (includes links to funding opportunities for religious organizations)  

Research on impact of model early childhood programs

Zero to Three is a newer, yet already well-respected info/advocacy group in early childhood. 

They offer interesting, brief sources of info on the education of young children:

A Strong Start Matters: Quality Child Care for Babies Must Be a Priority in America

High Quality Childcare: A Critical Ingredient for Nurturing Success

Poverty’s Effect on Infants and Toddlers Infographic

Getting Back to Basics: Building the Foundation for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Minimum Standards for Child Care Centers (includes all information necessary to operate a church school or child care center.)