After five years of hard work researching, writing and rewriting, gathering input and advice from experts, testing and retesting, reviewing, evaluating, and piloting, Jumpstart’s revised curriculum is rolling out this year! We have new books, new activities, new ways of presenting information and new opportunities to engage children in fun and exciting learning opportunities! We can’t wait to hear about your experience with the new curriculum!
Revising our curriculum is a specific objective in Jumpstart’s current strategic plan and thanks to the hard work of our staff and partners we are delivering on that objective.
Most Commonly Asked Questions
Why are we doing this?
Several years ago, the Education and Research team learned a few important things:
- From a study conducted by Julie Dwyer of our program at Boston University, we learned that Jumpstart members are very effective at supporting children’s oral language development, which is an essential element of school success.
- Through conversations with experts and research in the early childhood field, we confirmed our hunch that social emotional development is also critical for kindergarten readiness.
- We learned that with our teams of Jumpstart members coming into classrooms, Jumpstart can add real value to classrooms by deepening our focus on oral language and helping children develop vocabulary to describe the emotions of the characters in our storybooks. Children can then begin to understand emotions and feelings in themselves and others.
- Research confirmed that we could be a real leader in the field by making some shifts in our curriculum to focus explicitly on oral language and using that opportunity to build children’s emotion understanding and vocabulary.
Thus, the curriculum revision was born. Researchers and leaders in the field (including, but not limited to, Jumpstart’s National Early Education Council) have guided and universally supported this focus for our work.
How do we know it will work?
We have been testing (piloting) it for three years, with over 500+ members at Jumpstart programs across the country, and our results are positive. With the Pilot’s focus on oral language, findings from the Definitional Vocabulary subtest of the TOPEL are promising, exciting, and what we expected. Here are a couple of really exciting results:
- A larger percentage (78%) of Pilot children made gains on the Definitional Vocabulary subtest of the TOPEL than those not in the Pilot (64%).
- While Pilot children began the year with a below average score — and a score well below non-Pilot children — on Definitional Vocabulary, Pilot children made larger gains than their peers.
If you’re interested in reading a little of the research that has informed Jumpstart’s curriculum revision start with this article or ask your manager to share the curriculum research based documents with you.