“I’m hungry because I don’t get home until 8:30 each night.”
That’s what one Horizons student wrote on the end-of-summer 2022 survey.
Horizons already provides students with free and nutritious meals during the day, but the program ends at 3:30pm (read: not yet dinner). At that time, students are picked up and their parents or caregivers take them to their jobs, or they are shuffled around to different care situations until they can go back home.
So, how is Horizons Newark helping?
We are committed to supporting working parents with the care they need during extended-day programming when students will also receive a healthy meal or snack.
For Summer 2023, extended-day care will happen in the form of morning care, with plans to add after-care in the coming years. Students can be dropped off at the program at 7:30am where they will be provided breakfast, allowing parents and caregivers the opportunity to make it to work on time and not have to worry about feeding their children beforehand.
The ability to align program schedules with parents’ work schedules, logically, also impacts enrollment in Horizons, and therefore, access to critical academic and enrichment opportunities to beat the summer slide. In fact, a study conducted by the non-profit “Give a Summer” found this to be one of the main barriers to summer program enrollment only behind high cost (It’s a good thing Horizons Newark is free!)
Unsurprisingly, there are many other benefits to extended-day programming, including:
1) Keeping children safe outside of school hours. Children are in a secure and structured classroom environment with a caring teacher.
2) Opportunities to make new friends.Students aren’t grouped together by class so they are able to make friends outside of their day-to-day social circle.
3) Engaging in a multi-age setting. Students are cared for in a classroom of students from all different age groups and grades. This provides the opportunity for the older students to act as “mentors” for the younger students (a source of pride for many), and for the younger students to learn from the older ones (a proven Montessori method for learning).
When a student joins Horizons, their family does, too. That is why we are excited to provide extended-day programming that supports working parents and fosters the development of the whole child while also keeping them safe.
We can’t wait to see you bright and early, Horizons family!
Investments in high-quality (keyword!) early education programs help lay the foundation for school readiness and, in turn, help to narrow the academic achievement gap. However, access to such programs is not created equal, and when programs are available, enrollment is lacking.
The Down Low. New Jersey has one of the most aggressive public preschool expansion efforts in the country, seeking to expand access to Head Start (4-year-olds), Early Head Start (3-year-olds), and other district-based preschool programs. However, the National Institute for Early Education Research reported that nationally, while there are more Black children than white children enrolled in public preschool programs, Head Start funding per child is lower in states that enroll a higher percentage of Black children and performance measures are also lower.
Mind the Gap.100% of students who attend Horizons Newark qualify for free-and-reduced lunch and 71% are Black, and when considering the facts above, are the least likely to be ready for Kindergarten. Horizons Newark is bridging the gap from pre-K - Kindergarten for its students by providing a high-quality academic and enrichment program for 4-year-olds during the months leading up to their first day of K. Programming will target what the First Five Years Fund lists to be the indicators of school preparedness, which are:
· Physical wellbeing and motor development
· Social and emotional development
· Cognitive skills
· Language and developing literacy
· Ability to listen and follow directions
Through child-centered developmentally appropriate programming in literacy, math, STEM, healthy living and physical fitness, social-emotional learning, and the arts, Horizons Newark will provide rising Kindergarteners with the necessary experiences to build the skills they need to begin school in September prepared, confident, and excited to learn!
A few Kindergarteners from Horizons Newark Summer 2022.