September 25, 2017 (UNION, New Jersey) — The academic year is back in session, which means that the college students who make up Jumpstart’s volunteer Corps are gearing up for their first visits to preschool classrooms. Before they get to work in the classroom, however, these “Corps members,” are undergoing extensive training to help prepare them to be effective in the classroom.
Jumpstart site managers, who oversee Jumpstart’s Corps members on their local college campuses, deliver these trainings with the understanding that for Jumpstart to meet the needs of the children we serve, we must also meet the needs of the Corps members themselves. This training period is an essential opportunity for the Corps members to gain the key, foundational knowledge and skills they will need to successfully implement Jumpstart’s early education curriculum, as well as a time for them to get to know one another and become cohesive as a team.
Before their first session in their partner classrooms, Corps members spend approximately 30 hours learning how to effectively read with young children and introduce them to new vocabulary, how to manage the wide variety of behaviors that may arise in a preschool classroom, and strategies to support children’s language development and to adapt to each child’s unique needs. For example, Corps members learn that children need extensive repeated exposure to learn a new word, and even more repetition before they’ll begin to use that word themselves. So Corps members are encouraged to explain new words during storybook readings, and then to reuse them regularly in different settings throughout the rest of that day. To help them better manage their classrooms, Corps members are also taught Jumpstart’s positive problem solving approach — a six-step process that allows children to fully express themselves and their emotions, and then think through (with an adult) the best way to handle the issue at hand. These crucial trainings are based on the most current research from academic experts in the early education field, which means Corps members are entering the classrooms equipped with proven best practices.
Some Corps members even have the opportunity to take on a leadership role. Corps member Priscilla Boa-Amponsem has recently stepped up to the role of Team Leader at Kean University, and is currently in training before sessions begin.
“I’m thrilled for this school year because it is my first year as a team leader, and I cannot wait to meet the Jumpstart children and implement all the knowledge I gain from the ongoing training.” — Priscilla Boa-Amponsem, Team Leader at Kean University
Corps members like Priscilla are just days away from bringing the joy of Jumpstart to hundreds of preschool classrooms across the country. We hope that as you start to see those Jumpstart red shirts this fall, you’ll know that our Corps members are highly trained, and ready and eager to serve the children in your community.