In partnership with Hope Ministries, the women of the Junior League of South Bend. are assisting Hope Ministries in advancing their score in the High Scope Methodology by creating an outdoor play scape that will foster a safe and educational area for children to interact not only with each other, but with nature. The project has two components.
The first component is planning and executing a play scape that will help move the High Scope “Hope4Kids” preschool from a Level 3 to a Level 4. There are no other play areas of this type for the families and preschool program to access. The children at Hope currently do not have the opportunity to create positive connections with the natural world, learn about the natural cycles of life as materials, and change with the seasons. Dimensions Foundation Research shows regular time in “nature explorers classrooms” supports whole-child development and learning in areas of: critical thinking and problem solving, science, language and literacy math, visual-spatial learning, and construction and engineering skills.
The second component of the project is creating an indoor area that will continue the opportunity for family bonding and teaching parents to play with their children. We will enhance the play area with game tables and other activities.
In addition to the project initiatives at Hope Ministries, the Junior League of South Bend will be partnering with them in other capacities through our Done-In-A-Day initiatives.
Harrison Primary Center
In an effort to close the achievement gap between lower-socioeconomic and higher-socioeconomic students (and ultimately improve high school graduation rates in South Bend), the United Way of St. Joseph County, along with several community partners, transformed one South Bend Community School Corporation’s (SBCSC) primary centers into a “full-service community school.” The preschool is a critical step to helping our community realize the importance of early childhood education and intervention.
Harrison Primary Center was selected by SBCSC to become the first Community School because the need is substantial. A preschool classroom utilizing the High Scope Methodology curriculum was established at Harrison Primary Center in the fall of 2015 and serves 18 full-day students. Research indicates that a full-day approach is the most beneficial for low-income students. The student-to-teacher ratio in a High-Scope classroom is 1:9.
Since 82% of kindergarteners enter Harrison below grade level, the hope is that this preschool would be the first step toward converting Harrison Elementary school into a full-service community school.
The ultimate goal is that this preschool will become a model school for others to follow, highlighting the importance of early childhood education and intervention.