Photo: Latino Kids and Early childhood Programs
Gabriela Ramos had hardly knocked when four-year-old Fátima Martínez opened the front door of her family’s home and ushered in her preschool instructor.
With a dimpled smile on her face, Fátima sat down at a miniature Disney princess-themed table in the middle of her family’s living room. Ramos joined her, and launched into a bilingual lesson focusing on colors, shapes and animals.
Just a few feet away, Fátima’s mother, María Martínez, a farmworker, sat at the edge of the couch. She smiled and nodded as Fátima matched pairs of shapes.
“Muy bien,” Ramos said in an animated voice. “Good job, Fátima!”
Fátima spends just one hour a week with Ramos, a home-based preschool teacher with the Fresno County Office of Education’s Migrant Education school readiness program. That one lesson—which is packed with stories, English and Spanish vocabulary words, and arts and crafts—could put Fátima on the path toward long-term educational success.
But despite the proven success of preschool programs like this one, poor access to them is dimming future prospects for many Latino children—and for the state’s economy.
Toward a Global Workforce
Multiple studies have extolled the short- and long-term social and educational benefits of high-quality early childhood education. Experts say preschool attendance has the potential to close the achievement gap and help train a global, multilingual workforce.