On October 6th, thousands of volunteers sat down with millions of children across America and around the world, participating in Jumpstart's annual event, 'Jumpstart's Read for the Record'. During a day that proved to be both emotional and educational, parents, volunteers, politicians and celebrities stood up for a cause they believe in: the continued expansion of national support for early childhood education.
Jumpstart volunteers -- many of them college students -- were awake earlier than 4:00 AM in anticipation for the days events. They braved an early morning chill to cheer at The Today Show -- featuring Kourtney Kardashian and Bridget Moynahan as readers -- only to again travel to events at their own schools all across New York City. As one Jumpstart Corps Member put it, though, any exhaustion was "easily overshadowed by [the kids'] unbridled enthusiasm for learning."
'Jumpstart's Read for the Record' -- presented in partnership with sponsors such as The Pearson Foundation, JPMorgan Chase and Bloomberg -- is meant to function on the individual and community levels, both crucial to the future of early childhood education in America. The development of literacy in children "lights a spark", says Anna Dewdney -- author of this year's featured book, Llama Llama Red Pajama -- that then "fuels their social, emotional and imaginative development". After reading to a group at Bankstreet School for Children, Dewdney continued, "If the kids don't understand themselves, they won't be able to understand each other."
On a community level, Jumpstart's mission is just as purposefully and skillfully enacted as it is individually. The participation of several members of Congress in this year's events -- including Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) -- was no accident. A potential amendment to the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act is currently being debated, which includes reform that would identify pre-K education for targeted federal funding. Thanks to Jumpstart, this increased community involvement in both classroom and legislative developments encourages progress in all areas of America's ongoing educational reform.
While 'Jumpstart's Read for the Record' reaches more and more children every year, Jumpstart's work continues beyond the event and volunteers are already back to training and planning sessions. After all -- for Jumpstart volunteers and administrators working toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed -- there are no days off.
And that's the way they like it.
If you are interested in ensuring the bright future of America's children, call and write your Representatives and Senators today, telling them that you support an amendment to Public Law No. 89-10 (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) that would include explicit federal funding for early childhood (pre-K) education.