With perhaps the exception of naptime, the purple room at Milbank is never at a standstill. The early childhood classroom, one of 55 that Children’s Aid operates, has been the academic home to 14 four-year-olds since September. The year ahead of them will continue to be filled with cognitive and motor skills development, imaginative play, and tons and tons of reading.
Not only will this year, and their second year of pre-k, prepare them for their first official year of school, kindergarten, but it will serve as a solid foundation for the pinnacle of their academic career: college. It may seem way down the line, but Milbank family advocate Liliana Jimenez believes her students are ready for the conversation, and it’s not in vain. According to a recent analysis, children who received early childhood education had a 74% rate of high school graduation—nearly 12% higher than nonparticipants. And that graduation brings them one step closer to helping students achieve in higher education.
“Talk to one of our four-year-olds about college and they know exactly what you’re talking about,” she said.
So that’s exactly what Liliana and her staff at Milbank’s early childhood program are doing. On the first day of school, they ushered in students as members of the class of 2034. Students posed for their first class portraits, which solidified within the youngsters, and their families, a sense of what is achievable in their future.
“We wanted parents to understand that we really mean cradle to college,” Liliana said.
Children’s Aid has long been committed to supporting children every step of the way. Our range of services start at birth and support children at every developmental stage of childhood to ensure that children and youth have all the tools they need to learn, grow, and lead. Throughout the remainder of the school year, families will work with our early childhood staff to develop strong attendance patterns and sustain a love of learning that we know will cross the stage with students from the purple room in 2034.