The Early Learning Readiness (ELR) Program (ELRP) at the Operation Pathways community center at the Calvin Mowbray and Stephen Camper Park Community in Cambridge, Maryland is a partnership between Operation Pathways, The John and Janice Wyatt (J2W) Foundation, and the Robbins Family YMCA. This multi-year program is designed to combat the achievement gap that economically disadvantaged youth from birth to age five experience. The YMCA of Chesapeake facilitates the program.
YMCA staff work with program participants for two hours, each Monday and Wednesday morning throughout the school year for 36 weeks, starting with a soft launch from March to May 2021. A lead teacher guides the children and their caregivers through daily activities and circle time. YMCA staff support participants through 13 activity centers designed to develop key school readiness skills, such as math, science, art, music, gross motor skills, manipulatives, dramatic play, reading, infant center, snack area, listening, puzzles, and blocks. At the conclusion of the program day, YMCA staff provides caregivers with tools and support to build upon the lessons when they are at home.
This program provides a learning-enriched environment for some of the county’s most underserved children and their caregivers. The expectation is that this program will improve equity among OP resident children within the county, helping to level the playing field through the reduction of the learning and achievement gaps in these participating families. Outcomes for this initiative should be measurable academic growth at the end of the program, as seen in key school readiness skills like numbers, letters, color recognition, social skills, name recognition, and response to verbal cues.
“100% of the children and caregivers that consistently participate in our Early Learning Readiness program experience growth by the end of the program. Participants typically average a 25% rise in key school readiness skills like numbers, color recognition, social skills, name recognition and response to verbal cues.” —Jenifer Lehn, YMCA Coordinator
“The Early Learning program is an essential part of child and parent development, beginning the learning process in a structured school setting. We believe this program will build a foundation that will prepare students for school.” —Jymil Thompson, John & Janice Foundation (J2W)
“The program offers a great forum for my little girl to meet, play and learn with other kids. It will really help her learn and practice how to share with her peers since she is not very good at that yet.” —Guardian to a three-year-old participant
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