May 17, 2010

Ready for Kindergarten at Petaluma Adult School Wins Jack London Award for Educational Innovation

readyforkindergarten.jpgSonoma State University honored Petaluma Adult School's Ready for Kindergarten program at the 23rd Annual Jack London Award for Educational Innovation Ceremony and Reception last week. Each year, the School of Education at Sonoma State University recognizes several innovative Sonoma County P-12 public school programs, awarding the winner of four finalists with the Jack London Award.

Ready for Kindergarten at Petaluma Adult School is a bilingual kindergarten transition program for disadvantaged children who have had little or no pre-school prior to kindergarten entrance. One or both parents attend class with the child to learn the academic, social and behavioral skills necessary for a successful kindergarten experience. Carol Waxman and Nancy Emanuele coordinate the program.

The Ready for Kindergarten program focuses on preparing English-limited families and their children for kindergarten, by working with the children on their social and emotional development, physical development, listening and speaking skills, reading readiness and math skills. Parents are mentored and prepared for the difficulties their children may face, and how to help them overcome challenges.

Children enrolled in the program develop social skills, build their confidence, enhance both gross and fine motor skills and learn how to better communicate their educational needs. The program is self-sufficient, and financially sustainable, allowing the school to offer Ready for Kindergarten classes at no cost to families.

"The goals of the Jack London Award Program are to recognize and publicize outstanding innovative programs and the individuals responsible for them, to project a positive image of public education and to cultivate collaboration between SSU and K-12 schools. Ready for Kindergarten is an innovative, community outreach education program that reflects these goals," says School of Education Dean Mary Gendernalik-Cooper.

SSU faculty and staff, as well as community and educational leaders, serve as judges for this annual award. In making its selection, the committee considers program vision and impetus, innovation and creativity, collaborative engagement of teachers and school communities, impact on students, and adaptability to other settings.

Among the other finalists for the 2010 Jack London Award were The University Center at Elsie Allen High School, Science Explorations at Sequoia Elementary School, and Active Student Engagement at Mountain Shadows Middle School.

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Jean Wasp
Media Relations Coordinator
University Affairs
(707) 664-2057