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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Jumpstart For A Day planned April 2

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URI student tutors to celebrate success with preschool partners,

Kingston, R.I. -- March 30, 2005 -- Thirty-six preschool children and 41 Jumpstart University of Rhode Island student AmeriCorps members who participate in the Jumpstart program are celebrating their year together with an event on Saturday, April 2. Face painting, singing, arts and crafts, reading, and learning stations are part of the fun agenda.

“Jumpstart For A Day” will be celebrated from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in Atrium I of the Memorial Union on the Kingston campus. It will give the 3-to-5-year-olds who attend the CANE Child Development Center and A Place to Grow Child Care Center in Wakefield, and the South County Community Action Headstart in Westerly a chance to play and learn while their families get a chance to see Jumpstart URI Corps tutors interact with their partner children.

“We want to thank everyone for participating in the program and welcome the kids to the University,” said Lynne Finnegan, URI’s Jumpstart site manager.

The Jumpstart program, sponsored by the Feinstein Center for Service Learning, gives Jumpstart URI Corps tutors the opportunity to work one-on-one with children to further develop their language, literacy, and social skills before entering kindergarten.

“Jumpstart is designed to give preschoolers a ‘jumpstart’ on their education so that when they enter kindergarten, they are prepared to learn,” said Finnegan.

During the celebration, the children and their URI mentors and families will spend 10 - 11:30 a.m. participating in “choice time.” Choice time activities include reading one-on-one amidst a jungle themed setting, as well as arts and crafts, face painting, and various games. Learning stations, based on several different children’s books, will also be set up, incorporating literacy while still allowing children to participate in hands-on activities, such as making their own playdough.

At 11:30 a.m. students will take part in “circle time,” where they have an opportunity to introduce themselves and sing songs as a group. Lt. Gov. Charles J. Fogarty is expected to attend circle time. After circle time, there will be a light lunch and a Jumpstart cake.

“This is a warm, fun day where kids from all of the sites get a chance to meet each other and we can see how the program is impacting our community,” said Finnegan.

The University of Rhode Island was among 13 institutions selected from more than 100 applicants to become a Jumpstart site in fall 2003. In addition to working with the children, Jumpstart URI Corps tutors can earn credit or work study hours, and also receive a $1,000 AmeriCorps education award to use toward their education when they complete the yearlong program.

Jumpstart recruits and trains URI students from all majors and academic years to serve as a part-time AmeriCorps members. Members make a two-semester (fall and spring) commitment and work 10-12 hours each week as a tutor.

For more information about “Jumpstart For A Day” or the Jumpstart program, please contact Lynne Finnegan at 401-874-2090.