We believe in a world in which all children have the opportunity to think, create, reflect, and be heard within a community of engaged learners. Our goal is to motivate young people to achieve academic success, realize self-worth and connect their lives to a wider world by making learning more meaningful.
Unfortunately, many young people, especially those from low income families, bring a limited set of communication skills to school.
For instance, low income students, on average, are coming to school having heard one third the vocabulary that children from professional families have. One third! That’s from a study by Hart and Risley (1995) and another by Fernand et al (2013). This affects children’s educational growth in a major way, as this gap widens throughout their school lives.
Communication skills are fundamental to children’s development and future success; they are the foundation for learning, play and social interaction.
Our literacy programs provide struggling and reluctant young readers from low-income families with engaging literacy activities rich in orality and higher order thinking - both in the classroom and after school that have been shown to be effective in improving academic, social, and cognitive skills.
The core of our literacy work centers on communication development: speaking and listening, reading, inquiring and writing. We use dramatic role-play as one of our core strategies: To put children in a variety of roles and contexts, thus creating a verbally rich environment in which speaking and listening are crucial and engaging. In these role dramas students hear and respond to words and phrases in context, building improved, even powerful communication skills.