Early on, children search for ways to make sense of their world, to discover new information and acquire knowledge and skills. They have a need to explore, to engage frequently and deeply in a range of activities that are meaningful, relevant, age and individually appropriate -- allowing them to take control of their own learning.
Our belief is that children can make sense of their world and grow in knowledge and skills by taking part in enrichment opportunities such as Spark Growth! where children along with their parents and families can participate in a variety of literacy and art activities so that literacy becomes a way for them to ‘read the world’, have a sense of community and contribute creatively to the world as well.
It is our belief that children's knowledge and growth of literacy and art and parent-family involvement can be a positively enhance through the use of these 5 practices we incorporate into our enrichment program:
Having a variety of print in the environment and consistently available access to books, posters, literacy materials.
Use of appropriate rich vocabulary, having meaningful conversation, speaking & singing.
Taking time to notice, expand children's efforts, to explain, share in everyday activities and routines.
Consistently planning a variety of literacy and art experiences and activities so that they are inclusive, hands-on, relevant and developmentally appropriate meeting levels of children's abilities and interests.
Being with young children physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally-- viewing the world from the child's perspective.
Our hope is to inspire children to become passionate readers, writers and creatives. We strive to provide support in children’s learning by ‘sparking growth’ through our literacy and art enrichment program providing a service that grows lifelong learners.
Spark Growth! is a Literacy and Art Enrichment Program whose mission is to provide young children and their families with opportunities to participate in a voluntary, engaging, hands-on, inclusive, quality, and developmentally appropriate Literacy and Art Enrichment Program to be offered on a monthly basis free of charge at various sites and schools within the Morongo Basin. This literacy and art program is intended to enhance ongoing efforts by private and public schools, family daycare homes, home schools, parents, caregivers and family members as they instruct, tutor, and assist young children in the development, acquisition, and proficiency of literacy and creative skills.
The underlying goal for the Spark Growth! Literacy and Art Enrichment Program is to ‘spark’ an interest -- intrinsically motivate children -- in their development and proficiency of reading, writing, communication, creativity and literacy-related skills. As a part of this goal, this enrichment program will utilize a ‘whole child’ approach which recognizes and values 6 domains of development as vital in children's overall learning: aesthetic, affective, cognitive, language& literacy, physical, and social.
This enrichment program is also intentional in its mission to plan and design meaningful, interactive, hands-on, purposeful activities and lessons - taking into consideration the goals of the lesson/activity and relevance to the level of child’s interest, and to the child’s individual capabilities. Additionally, the enrichment program promotes and encourages children’s sense of self-efficacy due to its focus on providing consistent, non-judgmental support during formal or informal instruction, activities, and experiences. It is our contention that mistakes are opportunities to learn and that meaningful, purposeful, and interactive activities/lessons are foundational supports for young children as they become aware of and attempt various methods or strategies useful in their acquisition/proficiency of literacy and creative skills.
Of great importance as well is our mission to build and maintain positive, trusting relationships and connections with children, parents, caregivers, families and adults participating in the program. Caring, respectful relationships such as these have the potential to contribute to children’s sense of competence in their overall learning and development. Connecting with and maintaining genuine, positive relationships with children, families and supportive adults present opportunities for collaborative, respectful and intentional learning. As a result, children to come to the realization they are valued, contributing members not only of their learning community but the community at large - motivated to continue in the acquisition of knowledge and skills in many areas.
Literacy statistics worldwide
Literacy statistics and juvenile court
Many of the USA ills are directly related to illiteracy. Just a few statistics:
According to UNICEF, "Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and two thirds of them are women."
85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.
One child in four grows up not knowing how to read.
2/3of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.
The 4th grade is the watershed year. We can predict that if a child is not reading proficiently in the 4th grade, he or she will have approximately 78% chance of not catching up.
HOW VOLUNTEERING IN THE MORONGO BASIN CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
You know that look of wonder and joy that children get on their face when they listen to someone read them a story? Schools across the nation are bringing in volunteers to spark children in this very way. If you are a parent looking to get more involved in your child's school or simply enjoy time with children, being a volunteer can be a great way to help support the upcoming generation of readers.
LOCAL NON-PROFIT MAKES A SPLASH WITH VAN FUNDRAISER
Spark Growth is seeking donations to help purchase a vehicle for our next year of service. Being such a remote and rural community in the Morongo Basin, the need stretches far and wide. We need to be able to house books and art supplies for the children who so desperately need resources. Many children in our community have never been to a library, let alone own their own books. We want to directly impact the needs of the children. With a 71% socioeconomically disadvantaged, families, we must rally together to support future community members
IT ALL STARTED WITH A DREAM: THE EVOLUTION OF SPARK GROWTH PROGRAM
How can we make a positive impact on our community? How can all children be provided with more opportunities to participate in literacy and enrichment activities? Could supplemental & supportive literacy enrichment activities help support local schools/programs, family day cares and homeschooling families in their ongoing efforts to help children in their development and growth of literacy and art?
The answer -- Spark Growth! Literacy and Art Enrichment Program for children and families!
What teachers are saying...
"Great job of literature tie; frontloading of math lesson while engaging students and validating their comments and questions. Integrated school site SEL tools. I thought the group of four activity with the mats was a great way for the students to work together cooperatively. And writing culminating activity fantastic! Cross-curricular at its best! ."
~Ms. H, 2nd grade YMES