Fifteen families in Des Moines are testing a new early childhood education program. The focus isn’t in the classroom, it’s at home. The pilot program targets three and four-year olds from low-income families. It’s designed to give pre-schoolers a jump-start on their education.
3-year-old Isaiah Streeter knows his ABC’s. Now he’s learning to count with the help of some Cheerios and flash cards and a Japanese abacus called a Soroban. For the next year, Isaiah’s mom will be his at-home teacher.
“You have to be really committed to your kids to sit down to the have the patience to get them to concentrate and do it so it’s a commitment from the parents and the kids,” says Tiarra Streeter.
“There’s a need for expanded math education at a young age,” says Bob Singer, Executive Director of Responsible Education and Development.
Singer created the Advanced Start STEM Preschool Program. The curriculum is entirely math based.
“Every component of the program, we’re doing math, we’re doing vocabulary, we’re doing reading. Everything is math first,” says Singer.
The families are given lesson plans and a log to keep track of their child’s progress. The goal is for the three and four-year olds to start school a grade level ahead. Singer says long-term, the program can help end generational poverty and parents will play a big role in that.
They will work with a life coach and receive any kind of counseling they need.
“I might need to talk to somebody. I have my husband to help me with things too, but sometimes we will get overwhelmed,” says Streeter.
She has a full plate between working, going to school at DMACC and raising kids. Streeter says part of being a good parent is being a teacher.
“I wish i would have been able to do it when I was younger because it would have helped me better with math and everything,” she says.
The Evelyn Davis Learning Academy is the lead academic partner in the project.