UNM Children?s Campus Receives New Mexico PreK Grant
August 3, 2011 - Dorene DiNaro
The University of New Mexico Children’s Campus for Early Care and Education was recently awarded a New Mexico PreK grant funded by the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and the State Public Education Department (PED). This is a one year grant beginning on August 1, 2011.
The New Mexico PreK initiative is nationally recognized for practicing a play-based curriculum with a strong emphasis on social-emotional health and development. The initiative focuses on school readiness and prepares four-year-old children for success in school by increasing access to voluntary high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, providing developmentally appropriate activities for NM children, expanding early childhood community capacity and supporting linguistically and culturally appropriate curriculum.
This is a welcome addition to the UNMCC curriculum. “We [UNMCC] always strive to be the leader in any early childhood initiative and it feels great that our program has been used for training for other PreK programs throughout the state,” says Elena Aguirre, UNMCC director.
Enrollment for PreK services will be prioritized based on the targeted communities that have the highest percentage of public elementary schools that are designated as Title I and serve the highest percentage of public elementary students who are not meeting the proficiency required for calculating adequate yearly progress in either math or reading.
“Children get to learn that learning is fun and we are setting the foundation for their future educational success,” Aguirre says. “Because it is funded by a grant through New Mexico, it makes our program more accessible to families who may not be able to afford other programs.”
According to New Mexico PreK, studies have shown that PreK has significant, positive effects on children’s learning in the areas of language, literacy and math skills, and that children who attend PreK enter kindergarten knowing more letters, more letter-sound associations and heightened familiarity with words and book concepts. Since its inception in 2006, New Mexico PreK has served approximately 8,000 children throughout our state.
For more information on the New Mexico PreK program, please visit www.nmprek.org.