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Friday, September 23, 2005

Full Swing of Things..

Dryver and Stryde are rocking in Preschool. They both are in the groove, and are excited every night when I see them. They both tell me about the great things they did at school. We did our first homework assignment this week. It was a 'Bio-Board'. We pasted pictures of their favorite things on a board. The board was intended to describe both of them in a visual.

Dryver was able to do 90% of his board on his own, and he was so excited and took pride in his work. It was interesting to see the transformation from me doing it, to giving it to him to do. He was so proud, and so was I. He cut out the pictures, pasted them on the board, created the background, and even set-up the design. Dryver had pictures that included his favorite things: panda bears, his Hummer, Bike, Mommy, Daddy, Brother, Tacos, Power Rangers, Toy Story, and much more. It was great.

Stryde, on the other hand, had at least 5 trains on his board and that was about it. We asked him his favorite book, and it was trains. We asked him his favorite color it was 'Blue Like Thomas'. His board was also cool. I will post some pictures soon.

I really enjoy knowing that as I am at work everyday, the three most important people in my life are at school. Jennifer is teaching at Douglas MacArthur, and Dryver and Stryde are at Westminster Preschool. It is a great feeling to know that my kids are being challenged to learn. They are learning how to socialize with other kids. They are also becoming a part of the community. The impact the preschool will have on these two is unmeasureable. I can't imagine what I would do if I could not afford to send them. They would be missing so much that is so important to whom they are.

I am lucky to experience every night when they tell me about their day at school. I am able to be excited by listening to their excitement about school. I am able to feel the happiness they spill out onto me everyday. I am so lucky to have been blessed with such great kids. I am so lucky that they can experience preschool which helps to set their world for the next 75+ years. This is the start of their lives and they are learning how to do the most important and basic things for life. Dryver and Stryde are learning how to make friends, work with others, learn about life, experience art and music, and most of all - have fun!

Anyway, this made me think of a big issue. Nearly half of all public school students entering kindergarten in Alexandria have had no pre-school experience and are not exposed to anything I just mentioned above. Their parents don't have the opportunity to hear their children talk about what they leared at preschool. Their grandparents don't have the joy of seeing the many art projects sent along with a note. These children are missing such an important part of their life experience, and because of what?

These students are mostly from economically disadvantaged families. Half of them don't pass the literacy screening tests. They are less likely to graduate from high school and more likely to be involved in crime. This is tragic, we need to fix this for our little kids in the community.

Jennifer's peer kindergarten teachers in Alexandria report that 48 percent of children in the city are not ready to learn when they enter kindergarten. The annual literacy screening test results show the importance of preparing for kindergarten: 87.5 percent of students who went to preschool pass while 57.4 percent of those who did not go to preschool do not.

The city's experience with its Kindergarten Preparation Program shows the power of early childhood education. A 2003 examination of the city's program showed that children who participated in the two-week program had higher average literacy scores, were absent from school less often and were more likely to be promoted to first grade. Furthermore, the study illustrated that exposing students to literacy fundamentals in early years developed greater knowledge and superior reading skills than students with less exposure.

Because of this, City Councilman Rob Krupicka is spearheading a movement to make pre-kindergarten available to more children in Alexandria.

I am supporting Rob Krupicka's campaign this year because I strongly support his focus on making Alexandria a safe and good place for kids to live. It saddens me that some of the kids that Dryver and Stryde will go to Kindergarten with, will never have had the great experiences of Preschool. Rob is going to fix this, and he is also going to work on making Alexandria a great place for my kids to grow up! That is all I ask, and he is going to deliver 100x what we need.

Please support Rob in his campaign to fix this problem in Alexandria. We need to keep him around for a long time (at least until Dryver and Stryde get a job :)

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