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Published: July 15, 2021  |  

Summer Shuffle Prepares Early Learners for BVSD Classrooms

Many of the children in this year’s Summer Shuffle program are learning in person for the first time. It’s a big change for the kids and a positive start to their preschool or kindergarten experiences this fall. We know that the wide gaps in educational achievement start very early, and our Summer Shuffle program, a partnership with Boulder Housing Partners, offers the critical early interventions that make a huge difference.

Summer Shuffle is a bilingual program that delivers literacy and numeracy instruction to low-income youth living in public housing in Boulder. Approximately 30 preschool age students are spending 20 days of their summer learning important skills such as letter recognition, counting, name-writing and so much more!

What’s different about this summer

The program is smaller this year, primarily to make sure both students and parents were comfortable with their kids learning in person. In addition to the smaller class sizes, masks are required and parents fill out daily health screenings.

“Kids are having so much fun being with other kids and not on the computer,” says Kathy Luna, the lead instructor for the program. “I’m hearing from parents that their kids are waking up early (in the summer!) because they’re so excited to go to school.”

Each week, students focus on a unit, such as insects, trees, buildings, water, and music, that provides a new book, activities, and introduces school supplies. This year, hands-on activities, including art, are what the kids are most interested in. Each student gets to take home a new book each of the five weeks, one of which is written in Spanish, and at the end of the program they get to take home their box of school supplies and a white board.

Getting students ready for classrooms

While the program focuses on building literacy and numeracy skills, our instructors are also preparing students for the classroom by cultivating executive functioning skills and teaching them about healthy behaviors like hand-washing.

“In just two weeks, my daughter has learned how to socialize and talk with other kids. She starts preschool in August and this program has really helped her.” 

The mother of a 2021 Summer Shuffle participant

This element feels extra important this summer considering how many of the kindergarten students have never been in a formal learning environment and would otherwise be walking into a classroom for the first time next month. These preschoolers, who learned remotely last year, are improving at writing their name and reinforcing simple skills such as holding a pencil to write and cutting with scissors.

We’re excited to see these kids learning while having fun with friends and neighbors, and to see kids getting back into the rhythm of school.

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